Science Magazine reported erroneously on August 23, 2017, that Elsevier’s article publishing charges (APCs) as part of the current access agreement with Dutch universities amount to an average of €4,000 per article. The claim is based on a calculation by open access consultant Leo Waaijers. The assertion is factually wrong and in the context of the ongoing negotiations in Germany misleading.
These are the facts: Elsevier’s average gold open access APC is around $1,980 (approximately €1,590) per article vs. the average of other major commercial publishers of around $2,120 (approximately €1,700) per gold open access article. These prices apply in the Netherlands as they apply anywhere else. In addition, the Dutch subscription agreement allows authors in the Netherlands to publish 3,600 open access articles (estimated 30 percent gold open access articles by corresponding authors) over the contract’s 3-year lifetime at no additional cost – a far cry from the alleged €4,000. Moreover, Elsevier gold open access article quality is 14 percent higher than the industry's, as expressed in the Field Weighted Citation Index. In sum, Elsevier’s journal prices are below industry average, and our article quality is above industry average.
It is unfortunate that Science Magazine reported an Elsevier price point without verifying that price with Elsevier, clearly the most authoritative source on the matter. It is even more unfortunate that even after we demonstrated in detail that the reporting is mistaken and Science Magazine acknowledged verbally that indeed their source may have misunderstood the nature of the Dutch subscription agreement, the magazine added an Elsevier comment to the story but continues to report the now disproven alleged price point.