This is an easy calculation: for each subscription article, we pay on average US$5000. A publicly accessible article in one of SciELO’s 900 journals costs only US$90 on average. Subtracting about 35% in publisher profits, the remaining difference between legacy and SciELO costs amount to US$3160 per article. With paywalls being the only major difference between legacy and SciELO publishing (after all, writing and peer-review is done for free by researchers for both operations), it is straightforward to conclude that about US$3000 are going towards making each article more difficult to access, than if we published it on our personal webpage. Now that is what I’d call obscene.

Just to break the costs of legacy publishing down in detail:

Publisher profits 1750
Paywalls 3160
Actual costs of typesetting, hosting, archiving, etc. 90
Sum 5000
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Posted on  at 18:16