While 80% of the academic publishing market is still based on the paywall subscription business model, open access publishing is growing. As the primary open access business model adopted by these publishers is based on payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs), efforts to monitor, assess and exert critical market pressure on their APC price points are vital.

While the Open APC Initiative constitutes an essential tool for monitoring APCs, ESAC aggregates data and relevant facts for a number of major publishers in order to illustrate their market position and better assess the development of the scholarly publishing market as it transitions to open access.

There is significant market concentration in academic publishing, with just 20 publishers accounting for half of the articles published annually and indexed in Web of Science:


Global article output

Articles distributed over the number of publishers

A number of pure open access publishers figure among the top 20 largest academic publishers, and most of the largest traditional subscription publishers have established open access brands and journals. The following chart shows their gold open access shares, while additional hybrid open access shares are still hard to quantify due to missing article based license information in the publishers’ metadata.

Top 20 publishers

Global market share and open access gold shares