Article processing charges and fully open access journals: National Health and Medical Research Council funded articles

Main Article Content

Noreen Kirkman

Abstract

Introduction: The National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia’s largest medical research funder, mandates open access for journal articles published from funded research. Publishing articles in fully open access journals is an acceptable route to achieve compliance. However, the total cost of article processing charges and the extent to which Council funds contribute to payment are unknown.
Objectives: The main objectives of this study were to calculate the cost of article processing charges and determine the extent of acknowledgement of payment for Council-funded articles published in fully open access journals during 2019.
Methods: The funding acknowledgement fields of Web of Science provided the list of Council-funded articles. The Directory of Open Access Journals identified fully open access journal titles and their article processing charges. Data analysis
involved bibliometric research methods, principally descriptive statistics.
Results: The cost of article processing charges for 2,261 articles published in 2019 was over US$5,000,000. Charges ranged from zero to US$5,200, with the median being US$1,900. The acknowledgement of payment of article processing charges
was extremely low (1.72%).
Discussion: The insufficient acknowledgement of the considerable expenditure on article processing charges is concerning. The “Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research” underscores the principles of transparency in declaring
interests. Required is greater disclosure of expenditure on article processing charges and accountability for public-funded research.
Conclusion: The disclosure of article processing charge payments should be mandated by the Council and included in the publication metadata deposited in repositories under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Open
Access Policy. Acknowledgements and disclosures are essential in recognising professional contributions and ensuring the responsible conduct of research.

Article Details

Section
Articles
Author Biography

Noreen Kirkman, Independent Researcher

Noreen Kirkman graduated with a Master of Philosophy from Curtin University in 2020, the topic of her thesis covering compliance under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Open Access Policy.