Here is some of the work I’ve been doing to encourage the release of open data about the scholarly communication system. The latest article is available in Open Library of Humanities:


Subscription costs

The amount of money that higher education institutions pay for journal subscriptions is often difficult to find out. Through using Freedom of Information legislation significant amounts of data is now openly available. The following dataset contains the expenditure of 150 UK higher education institutions with ten of the largest publishers from 2010-14.

Lawson, S., Meghreblian, B., and Brook, M. (2015) Journal subscription costs – FOIs to UK universities. figshare. DOI: [data]

Lawson, S. and Meghreblian, B. (2014) Journal subscription expenditure of UK higher education institutions. F1000Research. DOI: [data article] [Press: Informed, LSE Impact blog, Times Higher Education, The Guardian]

A list of similar data available from other nations is provided in this blog post. In late 2017, follow-up data was gathered covering expenditure in 2015 and 2016:

Lawson, S. (2017) Journal subscription expenditure in the UK 2015-16. figshare. DOI: [data]


Article processing charges

Article processing charges (APCs) are fees which are sometimes paid in order to make research open access. In order to ensure transparency, the amounts which are paid for these need to be public knowledge. Many higher education institutions, particularly in the UK, have released open data on their APC expenditure.

Shamash, K. and Lawson, S. (2016) APC data for 34 UK higher education institutions in 2015. figshare. DOI: [data]

Lawson, S. (2015) APC data for 25 UK higher education institutions – 2014. figshare. DOI: [data]

Lawson, S. (2015) Article processing charges paid by 25 UK universities in 2014. Journal of Open Humanities Data, 1. DOI: [data article]