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How deep is the Article Processing Charges market?

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26.8% of academic authors predict that they will have money to cover publication fees in the year 2016. Researchers from the field of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences seem to be more pessimistic than their STEM colleagues. Also an army of academic authors who are not paid for conducting research see even smaller possibilities of funding for their publication fees.

In the Key Challenges of Research Communication De Gruyter Open Author’s Survey we have asked researchers if they will have any money to pay publication fees in the year 2016. Among 898 academic authors who answered our survey, only 1 did not respond to this question. 26.8% of the rest (which is equal to 241 respondents) answered “Yes”. 42.9% (381) claimed that they will not have any money for this goal in 2016, and 29.9% (265) did not know.

Disciplinary differences have shown a classic pattern, with STEM disciplines seeming to have better access to money than HSS.


Researchers-volunteers with little resources

Academic authors who are not paid for research work are less likely to have access to any publication funds in 2016. This group is quite large and as many as 33% of authors, who responded to our survey, were not paid for doing research in the time of our survey. What is more interesting is that more than half of unpaid authors of academic works claimed to be “established in research career”, and to hold a doctorate. Therefore this group may consist of independent researchers, people hired in industry or teachers.

Only 23.1% of them believed that they will be able to pay a publication fee, versus 33.1% of those who are paid for doing research. Among authors hired in the research sector type of contract (permanent vs. temporary) have no significant influence on the dependent variable.

Productive authors get more funding

Authors who published more papers than their average disciplinary colleagues in the last 3 years were more optimistic with regard to the availability of publication funds for them (34% predict to have access to these funds vs. 24% of researchers with average or lower publishing output). This is also quite easy to explain, while those who publish are not perishing. They are benefiting most from the various funding programs.

Career level has no impact on the discussed issue.

Surprisingly, geographical location has not much influence here, which supports my previous conclusions – that researchers from the global periphery pay APCs as frequently as other scholars do. What amounts are available for them? I will answer this question in the end of this week, but my next post will cover the sources of funding available to our respondents. The whole database will also be published soon. Stay tuned!

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