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At BMJ, our journals strive to price their Article Processing Charges (APCs) fairly. For this, we consider many factors, including changes in content, quality, costs, and other economic factors.

The information in the chart shows the eight broad cost areas involved in publishing in one of our journals and the percentage of total costs each area comprises.



Find out more about the Information Power price transparency framework.

Making sense of the numbers

To aid the interpretation of these numbers and further clarify nuances and differences between publishers and journals, we provide some general guidance below on what can lead to cost variances.

  • Journal and community development is likely to be much higher for new journals than for more established ones. This category also includes costs incurred to better serve the research community, for example, to support the expansion of editorial boards to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in research or the development of our processes to ensure we adhere to the highest possible industry standards for editorial policies and publication ethics.

  • Submission to desk reject/ accept is likely to be much higher in journals which attract the most submissions (i.e. those with a high impact factor) or with a high rejection rate.  

  • Peer review management will be very low at some publishers, but much higher where the publisher invests in editor and reviewer training, recognition and rewards for reviewers, and in state-of-the-art review management systems

  • Services from acceptance to publication include production tasks such as copy editing, formatting, typesetting, content tagging, quality checks, funder checks and more—all the tasks involved in bringing your work to online publication. Where a journal also publishes in print, there will be additional costs due to the need for a separate, parallel production system. Also, some journals invest heavily in technical editing, the redrawing of all figures, patient reviews and video abstracts which will all increase this cost

  • Services after publication include the provision of usage and social media data, and for the maintenance of our research integrity and publishing ethics function. Print journals will incur additional costs for paper, printing, wrapping, postage and warehousing.

  • Platform development and support - These costs will be much higher in years when major platform development takes place. Other reasons for these costs to vary are changes in the volume of content published, foreign exchange effects, and changes to vendors and contracts.

  • Sales and marketing to customers or of articles - This cost category is likely to vary substantially between journals/ publishers. Some simply publish and leave PubMed and Google to do all the work of disseminating an article. Others proactively market content via multiple social media platforms, pay-per-click advertising, and other marketing channels.

  • Author and customer support - This is another area where publisher investment varies widely. BMJ’s rolling survey programme among newly-published authors shows sustained, high levels of satisfaction with our own service in this area.

Learn more about our compliance with Plan S and Article Processing Charges.

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