What does it cost to publish a paper with Elsevier?
“... Bear in mind that Elsevier is a publisher, and Reed Elsevier is a larger company that owns Elsevier and a bunch of other businesses such as Lexis Nexus. According to the notes froma Reed Elsevier investment seminar that took place on December 6, 2011 in London:  Page 2: 34% of Reed Elsevier’s total 2010 revenue of £6,055M (i.e. £2058.7M) was from “Science and Medical”, which I take to mean Elsevier. This is in keeping withthe total revenue number from Elsevier’s annual report.  Page 8: Elsevier’s revenues are split 50-50 between the Scientific & Technical division and the Health Sciences division. 39% of total Elsevier revenue (i.e. £803M) is from research journals in the S&T sector. No percentage is given for research journal revenue in Health Sciences.  Page 18: confirmation that 78% of Scientific & Technical revenue (i.e. 39% of total Elsevier revenue) is from research journals.  Page 21: total number of articles published in 2010 seems to be about 258,000 (read off from the graph).  Page 22 confirms ‘>230,000 articles per year’.  Page 23, top half, says ‘>80% of revenue derived from subscriptions, strongly recurring revenues’. Bottom half confirms earlier revenue of 78% for research journals. I suppose that the ‘subscriptions’ amounting to >80% must include database subscriptions. The other important figure is the proportion of Elsevier journal revenue that comes from Gold OA fees rather than subscriptions. The answer is, almost none. Figures for 2010 are no longer on Elsevier’s Sponsored Articles page, but happily we quoted it in an older SV-POW! post: 691 Elsevier articles across some six hundred journals were sponsored in 2010. Sponsorship revenues from these articles amounted to less than 0.1% of Elsevier’s total revenues... The crucial piece of information we don’t have is this: how much of Elsevier Health Sciences revenue is from journal subscriptions? ... I will proceed with calculations on two different bases: 1. That Health Sciences revenue is proportioned the same as Scientific & Technical, i.e. 78% comes from journal subscriptions; 2. That Health Sciences has no revenue from journal subscriptions. This seems very unrealistic to me, but will at least give us a hard lower bound. If HS journal-subscription revenue is zero, then Elsevier’s total from journal subscriptions in 2010 was £803M. On the other hand, if HS revenue proportions are about the same as in S&T, then total journal-subscription revenue was twice this, £1606M. Across the 258,000 or so articles published in 2010, that yields either £803M / 258,000 = £3112 per article, or £1606M / 258,000 = £6224 per article. At current exchange rates, that’s $4816 or $9632. My guess is that the true figure is somewhere between these extremes. If I had to give a single figure, I guess I’d split the difference and go with £4668, which is about $7224. Remember: this is what it costs the academic world to get access to your article when you give it to an Elsevier journal. Those parts of the academic world that have access, that is — don’t forget that many universities and almost everyone outside a university won’t be able to access it at all. This is less than my previous estimates. It’s still an awful lot. Over on Tim Gowers’ blog, he’s recently announced the launch of a new open-access maths journal, Forum of Mathematics, to be published by Cambridge University Press. The new journal will have an article processing fee of £500 after the first three years, during which all fees will be waived. I’ve been shocked at the vehemence with which a lot of commenters have objected to the ideas of any article processing fee. Here’s the thing. For each maths article that’s sent to an Elsevier journal, costing the worldwide maths community between £3112 and £6224, that same worldwide maths community could instead pay for six to twelve open-access articles in the new journal. And those articles would then be available to anyone who wanted them, not only people affiliated with subscribing institutions. To me, the purely economic argument for open access is unanswerable. Even if you leave aside the moral argument, the text-mining argument, and so on, you’re left with a very stark financial equation. It’s madness to give research to subscription publishers.”