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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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OA Costs.....

Wed, 04 Jul 2012

OA costs raised its head again this week when I was asked to review a paper for Remote Sensing, published by MDPI who have specialised in open access for a number of years. I therefore wondered what their revenue was so looked at last years publications: 130 articles, spanning 2726 pages. MDPI charge variable amounts depending on journal (strange as I would expect costs to be the same!), with Remote Sensing at ~500. That's a tidy 65,000 from OA publishing. Of course their article numbers are healthy (2700 pages is good by anybody's standards) which means (assuming all authors are paying) they can generate this income.

So no quibble that OA works, although it would be interesting to know what production costs are like. There is an additional cost for more significant language copy editing and their peer-review computer system is far simpler than available from T&F or Elsevier. I also suspect they don't really have a marketing budget. If they were publishing 20-40 articles a year then the financial case would be more limited. So again, it is sector dependent. Can you generate the submissions and are authors willing to pay. Clearly 500-1000 is at the cheap of the market, with 1,500+ a more realistic cost for a mainstream publisher.

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