Q: Open access or subscription, which option do hybrid journals prefer their authors to select?
In hybrid journals, the authors are asked to select to publish their papers under either OA or subscription. But what do journals prefer the most? I'm not planning to comply with journals' preference, but I'm just curious. As some argue that hybrid journals earn from subscription 2-3 times more than when publishing OA, and they obstruct the full transcription to full OA. While many authors in websites like ResearchGate, always imply that paying the fee for publication will increase your chance for accepting the paper. I ask you guys because your answers are always beneficial and I trust them.
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With regard to your question, one reason behind the feeling that ‘hybrid open access’ journals prefer authors to select the open access option, via the payment of an article processing charge or APC, is the possibility that journals receive compensation for these articles both via the APC and via the subscription that institutions also pay to access other, non-open access articles from the same journal. Thus, it’s possible that an author from a particular institution pays the APC for his article (possibly from an institutional grant), while his institution simultaneously pays the same journal a subscription fee to enable access to the subscription-only articles, leading to higher revenue for the journal from such articles. This is the reasoning that has prompted some debate around the hybrid publishing model.
That said, efforts are being made to balance this so-called ‘double dipping’ by ensuring the two revenue streams are kept separate. It is an unfortunate fact that both transparency and complete information in this regard are not what they could be. Thus, the reasonable way forward is, as you have suggested, to determine what would be the best approach at the level of the article or the author, rather than attempting to base this decision around journal or publisher motivations that may vary among journals, not be apparent, or might in fact not exist at all. We hope this is useful!