The OA fees are too damn high

Joshua Rosenberg


I wrote a paper with three great colleagues and a doctoral student here, and I’m thrilled to share it soon. It’s entitled Big Data, Big Changes? The Technologies and Sources of Data Used in Science Classrooms and it will be published in a special issue of the British Journal of Educational Technology on Data Science Across the Disciplines. The publishing process was good; reviews were constructively critical, making the work better, and the editors handling the paper were helpful and constructively critical, too (note: this special issue is co-edited by my colleagues Victor Lee and Shiyan Jiang; I was not involved with editing the article I co-authored to safeguard the review process). When going through the final steps to publish the article, I was interested in making the work more accessible through an open-access (OA) license. When considering the cost, though, it was just too (damn!) high: $3,750.

My colleagues and I wrote the paper (without any compensation); the reviewers reviewed it (without any compensation); the editors handled the paper (without any compensation). Wiley provided a platform, some minimal typesetting services, and the service of hosting the paper. In 2022, there is no reason why $3,750 is in the ballpark of reasonable; at most, to retain healthy profit margins, around $1,000 is not an unreasonable fee. The OA fees are too damn high. (A pre-print of the paper is here.)

I need to do more to advocate for better publishing approaches. I place some responsibility on my senior colleagues who have not advocated enough for better publishing models, but enough complaining - you can hold me responsible for doing better by others, the public, and my future more junior colleagues. Enough!

*Aside: A publication with colleagues on the imperative to expand open science in science education is here. The piece is not open-access because the OA fee was around the same amount—far too high. A pre-print is here.