AMRC Open Research

Price Transparency on AMRC Open Research

In this blog post Michael Markie, Publishing Director at F1000 Research, outlines the upcoming adjustments to the pricing structure on AMRC Open Research, Dr. Jocelyn LeBlanc, Research, Data and Impact Manager at the AMRC discusses the importance of price and service transparency of the platform. 

Last month, F1000Research rolled out a new pricing structure complete with price transparency. As a publisher that fully supports cOAlition S, we have also worked with our platform partners so that they to meet the criteria of a fully Plan S compliant publishing platform. So, we are announcing a new pricing and service framework for AMRC Open Research (AMRCOR), which ensures a fairer and more representative pricing framework while providing full transparency on what those prices comprise of. 

2020 marks nearly two years of publication for AMRCOR. F1000 Research have analysed the publications on AMRCOR to determine if the word count pricing structure is representative for all the published content to date. The results of this analysis showed that there was room for improvement, and we think the new pricing structure described below better accommodates for a fairer approach to pricing for the editorial service required to process and publish an article.

We have subsequently combined this work with the article processing charge (APC) transparency requirements necessary for Plan S compliance.

Pricing structure: past and future

APC fees on AMRCOR were previously based on article length, founded on the principle that, in general, shorter articles typically have less data associated with them and should therefore be simpler to conduct the pre-publication checks and be quicker and easier to get peer reviewed compared with longer, full-length research articles.

Looking at 18 months of running this pricing model, we have learned several things. Firstly, researchers rarely publish single figure findings, but on the occasions, they do, they are often associated with significant research data, meaning that they take no less effort to conduct the pre-publication checks, and are no easier to get peer reviewed.

Secondly, we found that articles that were published with over 8,000 words were not requiring an editorial service that warranted the 1550 GBP price mark. This is something we found across all our publishing platforms.

In short, the logic for basing APCs on word count was not adequately representing the editorial service we provide.

Introducing Article Type Pricing

The way we structure the pricing has now changed from word count bands to article types. To aid the development of this new pricing structure, we analysed the editorial service we provide for each of the article types that we support on AMRCOR. From that analysis, we have created three price categories for our new article type pricing structure. These categories are based on:

•            article types that are quicker and simpler to check prior to publication

•            article types that are easier to support the authors in the sharing of the underlying data

•            article types that are easier to obtain peer reviews for

Figure 1. New AMRC Open Research pricing structure

Price Transparency

JLB: Openness and transparency around our pricing is important as it enables our associated charities (and others) to better understand if the fees they pay for publication correspond to the publication service and experience that is delivered. It also helps to better understand what the APC covers. AMRC strongly supports the principles and goals of Plan S and AMRC Open Research is one way that AMRC members can help encourage and facilitate the global movement towards open access.