Open access journals and publication fees

Traditional subscription-based journals recover the costs of peer review and editing by charging for access to their products. But Open Access (OA) journals often use an 'author pays' business model which shifts the payment burden from users to publishers, i.e. costs are recovered by charging authors, their funding bodies or employers, and papers are made available free of charge to the readers.

10-15% of the 20–25,000 peer-reviewed journals are OA journals. Some open access publishers, such as Public Library of Science (PLoS), publish only open access material; others, such as BioMed Central, publish open access journals as well as subscription-based material.

No all OA journals charge publication fees. Roughly half the OA publications have author fees to cover the cost of publishing (e.g. PLoS fees vary from $1,300 to $2,850) instead of reader subscription fees. Some of the no-fee OA journals have institutional subsidies and donations. Advertising revenue and funding from foundations are also used to provide funding.

The main reason authors make their articles openly accessible is to maximize their research impact, which is an important factor for assessing quality of research output.

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