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Publishers defend increasing open-access charges

Academic publishers have defended increasing their charges for making research papers available with open access, after a study found that their fees rose by between 17 and 220 per cent in recent years.

Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo, a pharmacology researcher at the University of Montreal in Canada, looked at how ‘article processing charge’ publication fees have changed between 2012 and 2018.

Khoo identified the four largest commercial open-access publishers funded by these charges as BioMed Central, Frontiers, MDPI and Hindawi. He found that average APCs increased by 220 per cent at MDPI over the time period in question—“albeit, from a low base”. His paper, published on 9 May in Liber Quarterly, the Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries, also found increases of 40 per cent at Frontiers, 34 per cent at Hindawi and 17 per cent at BMC.

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