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Creighton Libraries Connections

Open Access Publishing & Creighton University

by Sarah Stapp on 2022-05-23T11:44:00-05:00 | Comments

Faculty Survey Summary: March 2022

In response to the open access, a movement to make scholarly content freely accessible online, the number of open access journals has been rapidly increasing (see Figure 1). The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), an independent index of reputable open access journals, launched in 2003 with only 300 journals indexed and currently lists over 17,000. As publishers transition to offering hybrid or full open access publishing, many are exploring new income models to support open access publishing. One of the most common income models publishers use to support open access is administering article processing charges, also known as article publication charges or article processing fees (Crow, 2009).

Figure 1: Growth of Open Access Journals and Journal Articles

Note. The chart shows the number of open access journals published and the number of articles published within them from 1993 – 2009. From “The development of open access journal publishing from 1993 to 2009,” by M. Laasko, P. Welling, H. Bukvova, L. Nyman, B. Björk and T. Hedlund, 2011, Plos One, 6(6), e20961.

Article processing charges (APCs) create a pay barrier for authors interested in publishing in open access journals. APCs are often subsidized, according to one survey, APCs were subsidized by research grants (34%), foundation grants (5%), the author’s host department (8%), or the institutional library (27%) (Kaufman-Wills Group, 2005). The same study demonstrated that the payment of APCs out of personal funds was relatively low, approximately 5% (Kaufman-Wills Group, 2005).

A survey was distributed to faculty at Creighton University in March 2022 which provides a similar picture of how APCs are subsidized. For the 125 faculty who responded to the survey, APCs for Creighton authors were subsidized by external grants (25%), internal grants (13%), the author’s department or school (15%), and other sources (25%). Responses for other sources included payment by a prior institution, by co-authors at another institution, the faculty development fund, and endowed chair funds. Unlike the results of the prior study, 23% of Creighton authors reported paying for APCs from personal funds. Creighton authors were administered APCs that ranged from $60 to $7,500 during the past fiscal year (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021), with an average annual APC expenditure of $1,430 per author.

Figure 2: Payment of APCs at Creighton

Creighton authors were asked how likely it is that they would publish in an open access journal requiring APCs in the upcoming fiscal year (see Figure 3). To determine if availability of funding would increase the likelihood of Creighton authors publishing in open access journals, they were asked how likely they would be to publish in an open access journal, if internal funding to cover APCs were made available. Survey results illustrate that Creighton authors somewhat likely or extremely likely to publish in open access would increase 58% if an internal fund were made available.

While it is not surprising that more Creighton authors would be willing to publish with funding to offset the APCs, the comments shared in the survey provide a better picture of how the funding would impact faculty and students. Respondents shared that their research would be more accessible when published under an open access model and would support growing Creighton’s reputation as a research university, “an APC fund would enable me … the opportunity to publish more frequently and get the institution’s name out there.” Others point to the growing number of open access journals requiring fees, “it is becoming difficult to find journals that don’t charge fees… academia is changing,” “this has become a huge issue in recent years,” and “almost every journal I have submitted to in the past year has had an open access option and those requiring the fee are increasing.”

Many respondents support internal funding to offset or subsidize APCs, “… fees have drastically limited the journals my collaborators and I submit to… funds to support open access publishing would be VERY MUCH appreciated.” Several shared that support to subsidize APCs would allow them to publish in quality journals that have adopted an open access model, “I have often passed up trying to submit to prestigious journals as they charge these fees,” “…it should be the quality and fit of the journal, not the fee, that drives choices of the journal… a fund for something like this would be amazing.”

Results from the survey were presented to the academic administrators in order to initiate a discussion about the need for an institutional open access fund. The full survey results can be found online at:


Crow, R. (2009). Income models for open access: An overview of current practice. SPARC Consulting Group.

Laakso, M., Welling, P., Bukvova, H., Nyman, L., Björk, B., & Hedlund, T. (2011). The development of open access journal publishing from 1993 to 2009. Plos One, 6(6), e20961. Retrieved from

Kaufman-Wills Group. (2005). The facts about open access: A study of the financial and non-financial effects of alternative business models on scholarly journals Association of Learned and  Professional Society Publishers.


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