Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis | Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo | Liber Quarterly, Volume 29 2019

This study has found that from 2012 to 2018 higher APCs were actually associ- ated with increased article volumes. These findings indicate that APC hyper- inflation is not suppressed through market competition and author choice.

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Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community

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Pablo Markin 2 months ago

The likely key reason behind the apparent lack of price competition in the Open Access journal market is that its primary wares are scholarly articles in digital form and value-added services exchanged between its agents. Additionally, standard, ceteris paribus assumptions of the classical economic theory do not necessarily hold for the Open Access market, since one can argue that article processing charges (APCs) do not represent prices for subsititutable, homogeneous goods, not only since scholarly authors are the producers of the published articles, which also must demonstrate uniqueness to be published in the first place, if quality standards are maintained, but also because journals in which these articles appear usually possess dissimilar impact factor profiles. Furthermore, if scholarly articles are to be conceived of as Veblen goods, the valuation dynamics of which is driven by prestige, their price is paid by their end-consumers, such as institutionally affiliated readers, on behalf of which libraries and universities act when they enter into subscription agreements with journal publishers. For non-Open Access articles, these institutional arrangements do not include non-affiliated readers that pay retail prices for closed-access content.