Elsevier publishes journal articles under two separate business models:
- Subscription articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by subscribing individuals or institutions.
- Open access articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by authors, their institution or funding bodies, commonly known as Article Publishing Charges (APCs).
Elsevier separately calculates pricing for each of these business models. Subscription prices are set independent of open access articles, and open access articles are not considered when setting subscription prices. Elsevier has a no double dipping policy, which enshrines this principle. Read Elsevier’s no double dipping policy.
Article Publishing Charges (APCs)
Irrespective of the publishing model chosen by the author, our goal is to ensure articles are published as quickly as possible, subject to appropriate quality controls, and widely disseminated. Where an author has chosen to publish open access, which typically involves the upfront payment of an article publishing charge (APC), we will also make their article immediately and freely available upon publication on Science Direct, in perpetuity, with the author’s chosen user license attached to it. Elsevier’s APC prices are set on a per journal basis, fees range between c$150 and c$9900 US Dollars, excluding tax, with prices clearly displayed on our APC price list and on journal homepages.
Adjustments in Elsevier’s APC prices are under regular review and are subject to change. We set APC prices based on the following criteria which are applied to open access articles only:
- Journal quality;
- The journal’s editorial and technical processes;
- Competitive considerations;
- Market conditions;
- Other revenue streams associated with the journal.
A small percentage of titles may also support more than one APC, for example when a journal supports one or more article types that require different APCs. Variations* in pricing will be clearly displayed on journal homepages.
Our goal is to effectively bridge the digital research divide and ensure that publishing in open access journals is accessible for authors in developing countries.
We grant waivers in cases of genuine need, therefore we automatically apply Article Publishing Charge (APC) waivers or discounts to those articles in gold open access journals for which all author groups are based in a country eligible for the Research4Life program.
If an author group from a non-Research4life country cannot afford the APC to publish an article in a gold open access journal and they can demonstrate they had no research funding, we will consider individual waiver requests on a case-by-case basis.
Our waiving policy does not apply to hybrid journals. Authors publishing in hybrid journals can publish under the subscription model at no cost and make use of the Elsevier sharing policy.
Funding body agreements
Elsevier has established funding body agreements to help authors comply with the open access requirements of the major funding bodies. In some cases, funding bodies will reimburse the APC paid by the authors.
*Please note: While it is not Elsevier’s policy to vary our APC prices based on the user license chosen by the author, we also publish journals on behalf of learned societies or other third parties who reserve the right to determine their own prices and pricing policies. Any deviations in pricing from Elsevier’s standard APC price list per journal will be clearly displayed on the journal’s homepage.
To ensure Elsevier does not charge twice for the same article, we will fully refund an APC when alternative funding is provided for the open access article. For example, where an open access article is part of a Special Issue which is later made available in its entirety on an open access basis, such as through sponsorship by an organization, we will fully refund individual APCs paid by an author or on their behalf.
Elsevier will offer a credit for use against a future OA publication in the following circumstances:
- A delay in delivering open access: When an article is not available open access on ScienceDirect by the time the issue in which the article is included is published in its final version, we will offer a credit for use against a future publication with Elsevier.
- Incorrect licensing: When an article is made freely available on Science Direct in final published form but does not display the author’s chosen user license due to our error, we will offer a credit for use against a future publication with Elsevier.
No refund or credit will be offered in the following circumstances:
- Article retraction: Elsevier has provided full publishing services and is only able to recoup this investment through the APC. The later retraction of the article does not detract from the publishing services provided or from our ongoing maintenance of the scientific record, e.g. archiving in perpetuity.
- Article removal: In rare cases where articles are removed completely after acceptance for publication we will not refund or credit an APC. This is because Elsevier has provided publishing services and is only able to recoup this investment through the APC. The later removal of the article does not detract from this investment and is typically for reasons beyond our control.
- Delays resulting from editorial decisions or author changes: These are a standard part of the publishing process.
- License changes: Where an author requests a change to the user license they initially chose we will endeavour to respond to these within 5 working days.
- Circumstances beyond our control: This may include, for example, where natural or other disasters prevent us from fulfilling our obligations.
- Article unavailable on another platform: Elsevier’s responsibility is to ensure that the definitive published versions of articles we publish are available on ScienceDirect, or any successor platform, in ways that are accessible to all. We provide APIs to enable third party platforms to manage this process themselves, for example to identify and pull gold open access articles or to update their platforms to reflect changes subsequently made to the article, such as author license choice changes, errata, and retractions. Elsevier is not responsible for ensuring third party repositories maintain accurate metadata and full-text.
Elsevier publishes subscription articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by subscribing individuals or institutions. Subscription prices are set independent of open access articles and open access articles are not included when calculating subscription prices. Subscription prices are calculated and adjusted based on the following criteria:
- Article volume;
- Journal quality;
- Journal usage;
- Editorial processes;
- Competitive considerations;
- And other revenue streams such as commercial contributions from advertising, reprints and supplements.
These criteria are applied only to subscription articles, not to open access articles when setting list prices. For specific information please see our subscription price list for librarians and agents.
Elsevier provides a range of purchasing options for subscription articles which are tailored for a wide variety of people. These include:
- For libraries and institutions: There are a number of subscription options available which are tailored according to the specific customer situation and reflect a number of factors. For customers who purchase collections these considerations include competitive considerations, market conditions, the number of archival rights they purchase, and agreement specific factors like agreement length, currency and payment terms. Collection prices are adjusted on an annual basis, and any adjustment is based on factors including competitive considerations, market conditions, the number, quality, and usage of subscription articles published, and on technical features and platform capabilities. Open access articles are not included in these calculations. Click here for more details
- Individuals: Researchers who are not affiliated to an institution, or who would simply like convenient access to a title not available from their library, can take advantage of our personal access options. These options include credit card based transactional article sale, article rental.
- For more information on our free and low cost access programs click here.
No double dipping
Elsevier's policy is not to charge subscribers for open access articles and when calculating subscription prices only to take into account subscription articles – we do not double dip.
Concerns around double dipping are often premised on the expectation that open access articles are replacing the number of subscription articles being published and therefore that prices should be changing to correspond to this. However, here are some relevant data points to take into account:
- The total volume of articles published globally by the industry has grown on average at 4% per year over the last few years, driven by the ongoing increase in global research activity.
- Recently Elsevier's article growth has been higher than this 4% figure.
- In 2017, Elsevier published over 430,000 new articles. This figure includes 27,000 open access articles.
List prices for journals that publish both open access and subscription articles
For journals which publish subscription articles and open access articles, prices will be set by business model. Adjustments in individual journal subscription list prices will be based only on criteria applied to subscription articles. Open access articles will not be considered in the individual journal list price. Similarly, the APC per journal will only be determined based on the criteria applied to open access articles.
As with journal list prices, collection prices reflect subscription articles only; they are linked to the prices of individual titles in a collection, which do not count open access articles when setting prices.
Retrospective open access
So as to ensure we are able to uphold our no double dipping policy and separate calculations regarding list prices from open access articles, we do not offer authors the option to retrospectively make a subscription article gold open access after publication. We do, however, understand that there are sometimes exceptional circumstances. We are happy to assist authors as it may still be possible to make a subscription article, published in a hybrid journal, gold open access up until 31st January of the following year. For example, if the article has a formal date of publication of March 2016, authors are able to make their article open access up until the 31st January 2017. This cutoff date is necessary to accurately assess the open access uptake in each individual hybrid journal for the previous year which ensures we do not charge subscribers for open access content. To request retrospective open access or for further details, please contact us.