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The APCs market – What amounts are available to academic authors?

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1 000 euros a year is the average amount that an author with Article Processing Charges funding will spend on publishing his or her articles. The top quarter have access to 2 000 euros annually or more.

241 academic authors in our sample declared to have access to funds that may cover their article publication costs in the year 2016. This number represents slightly more than one fourth (26.8%) of all surveyed academic authors and is a little bit bigger than the number of authors who already paid an APC in the last 3 years (18.2%). These two numbers show more less how many researchers participate in the APCs market, and how many may join this year. But we still do not know how effective is their demand.

Among these 241 authors who declared to have access to Article Processing Charges funding in 2016, 63 claimed that they did not know how much money it would be. 98 declared that the amount is not specified. In the end, 86 academic authors were able to provide us an exact amount that is available to them in the current year.

This is quite a small sample, but a small sample is still much better than no sample. Half of this group have access to 1 000 euros or less in the year 2016. The bottom quarter have access to 425 euro or less, while the top quarter to 2 000 euros or more. Only 3 authors out of 86 (3.4%) declared to have more than 5 000 euros to spend on APCs in the year 2016.

Is it much or not? Well it depends. As you probably remember from my post on amounts that were paid by authors, prices in this market are very diversified. The average APC amount in fact says a little about the market structure. In the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences, some journals charge fees 5 times or more smaller than prices widely accepted in Life Sciences. On the other side, you can also find extra-expensive hybrid journals.

For sure the vast majority of our respondents that declare to have funding and provide us an amount will be able to publish some articles in the APC based model. But it seems to me that the majority of them will have to count money very carefully while choosing a journal to publish.

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