First copy costs of scientific articles – a short overview

While I was working on a longer text, I gathered – more or less as a by-product – information from studies and reports on the (first copy) costs of a scientific article. As a result, it can only be noted that the information available on these costs (and related costs as margins) are very different and really difficult to compare. The latter confirms my impression that there is a huge lack of transparency in the scientific publications market. The following table may give some insight in the information I found. It is also available via GitHub (https://github.com/scinoptica/article_costs.git), so please feel free to improve/ update the data or add new information.

 

Source

RIN
2008
 

British Academy
2007

 

 

Dubini
2012

 

 

Waltham
2010

 

 Shieber
2012
 Houghton et al.
2010
 Van Noorden
2013
First copy costs of an article, including profit margins  

1.127 £

 

PNAS: 3.700 $

Nature: 30.000 – 40.000 $

First copy costs of an article, without profit margins 1.136 £  

420 – 650 $

 

10 $

First copy costs, including profit margins per page  

360 $

 –
Margin  

18%

Closed Access on average 20-30%,

 

Open Access (commercial) on average 15%

Cost of peer review (not included in first copy costs): 1.194 £ 900 £  –
Methods analysis of literature and reports expert discussion empirical study empirical study case study analysis of literature and reports analysis of literature and reports, interviews
Disciplines mixed Social Sciences & Humanities mixed Social Sciences & Humanities Machine Learning mixed mixed

 

Sources:

British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences. (2007). Peer Review : the challenges for the humanities and social sciences. A British Academy Report. Retrieved from http://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/peer-review/contents.cfm

Dubini, P. (2012). PEER Economics : the effect of large scale deposit on scholarly research publishing. Retrieved from http://www.peerproject.eu/fileadmin/media/presentations/PEER_economics_29May12_Brussels-1.pdf

Houghton, J. W., Rasmussen, B., & Sheehan, P. (2010). Economic and Social Returns on Investment in Open Archiving Publicly Funded Research Outputs. Melbourne. Retrieved from http://www.arl.org/sparc/publications/papers/vuFRPAA/index.shtml

Research Information Network. (2008). Activities, costs and funding flows in the scholarly communications system (p. 88). Retrieved from http://www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/communicating-and-disseminating-research/activities-costs-and-funding-flows-scholarly-commu
Shieber, S. (2012). An efficient journal. The Occasional Pamphlet. Retrieved June 05, 2012, from http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/pamphlet/2012/03/06/an-efficient-journal/

Van Noorden, R. (2013). Open access: The true cost of science publishing. Nature, 495(7442), 426–429. doi:10.1038/495426a

Waltham, M. (2010). Humanities and social science journals: a pilot study of eight US associations. Learned Publishing, 23(2), 136–143. doi:10.1087/20100209

 

 

 

Graduate sociologist, information scientist (PhD degree), working for the Saarland University and State Library (Germany), owner of the consulting agency scinoptica, journalist. ORCID: 0000-0002-3500-3119

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