Numbers and shares of Open Access Journals in Sociology charging publication fees

In June 2014 I analysed the data of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to find out to what extent Open Access Journals in Sociology (as listed by the DOAJ) charge their authors with publication fees (or article processing charges APCs). A CSV-file offered for download by the DOAJ did not contain any information on APCs, in fact the whole APC-column was empty, so I gathered the information manually from the DOAJ’s search interface. Unfortunately the DOAJ’s information on sociological journals using APCs was too a large degree wrong.

On the eleventh of June the DOAJ listed 109 sociology journals.  In eleven cases the information on APCs was wrong:

  • nine were labeled as APC-based although they did not use APCs
  • one was labeled as using APCs conditionally, but in fact it charged every article published
  • one was charging its authors although the DOAJ listed it as not using APCs

This means that for this subset of journals the information on publication charges was wrong in more than 10 % of all journals. Focusing on the eleven journals that – according to the DOAJ – use (always or conditionally) APCs the situation is even worse:  10 of these journals (90,9 %) are categorized wrongly.

In fact only three out of these 109 journals (2,75 %) charge their authors: Sociology Mind (ISSN 2160-083X) charges 700 US-$ per article (plus 50 US-$ for each additional page). Studies of Sociology of Science (ISSN 1923-0176) charges 300 US-$ per article and Intersticios (ISSN 1887-3898) charges beween 10 and 20 € per article (depending on the number of pages). None of these APC-based journals has a journal impact factor  assigned (according to the Journal Citation Reports Edition 2012). Instead four of the other journals (not using APCs) have an impact factor assigned.

Compared to other disciplines APCs are a rare phenomenon in Sociology (as mentioned 2,75 % of the journals know publication fees): Solomon & Björk (2012) report a portion of 26 % of Open Access journals charging their authors, whereas Shieber (2009) reports 23,14 %. Shieber seems to have trusted in the data offered by the DOAJ, therefore his numbers might potentially be biased. Solomon & Björk used a randomized sample of journals and checked for each journal within the sample the information on APCs, so their results are very trustworthy. Please not: This comment intends not to malign Shiebers excellent work.

The data is openly available as:

Herb, U. (2014). Numbers and shares of Open Access Journals in Sociology charging publication fees (article processing charges APCs). Zenodo. doi:10.5281/zenodo.10760
Shieber, S. (2009). What percentage of open-access journals charge publication fees? The Occasional Pamphlet. Retrieved June 05, 2012, from
Solomon, D. J., & Björk, B.-C. (2012). A study of open access journals using article processing charges. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(8), 1485–1495. doi:10.1002/asi.22673
Cite this article as: Ulrich Herb, Numbers and shares of Open Access Journals in Sociology charging publication fees, in scinoptica, 8. Juli 2014,

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