“The editor had requested a price of 400 euros, an APC that is not sustainable”

November 5, 2015

Many SV-POW! readers will already be aware that the entire editorial staff of the Elsevier journal Lingua has resigned over the journal’s high price and lack of open access. As soon as they have worked out their contracts, they will leave en bloc and start a new open access journal, Glossa — which will in fact be the old journal under a new name. (Whether Elsevier tries to keep the Lingua ghost-ship afloat under new editors remains to be seen.)

Today I saw Elsevier’s official response, “Addressing the resignation of the Lingua editorial board“. I just want to pick out one tiny part of this, which reads as follows:

The article publishing charge at Lingua for open access articles is 1800 USD. The editor had requested a price of 400 euros, an APC that is not sustainable. Had we made the journal open access only and at the suggested price point, it would have rendered the journal no longer viable – something that would serve nobody, least of which the linguistics community.

The new Lingua will be hosted at Ubiquity Press, a well-established open-access publisher that started out as UCL’s in-house OA publishing arm and has spun off into private company. The APC at Ubiquity journals is typically £300 (€375, $500), which is less than the level that Elsevier describe as “not sustainable” (and a little over a fifth of what Elsevier currently charge).

Evidently Ubiquity Press finds it sustainable.

You know what’s not sustainable? Dragging around the carcass of a legacy barrier-based publisher, with all its expensive paywalls, authentication systems, Shibboleth/Athens/Kerberos integration, lawyers, PR departments, spin-doctors, lobbyists, bribes to politicians, and of course 37.3% profit margins.

The biggest problem with legacy publishers? They’re just a waste of money.

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5 Responses to ““The editor had requested a price of 400 euros, an APC that is not sustainable””


  1. Do they know (as Google Search does) that there is already a journal called Glossa?

  2. Mike Taylor Says:

    Good point. I have drawn this to Prof. Rooryck’s attention.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    Prof. Rooryck replied. He notes that the existing journal Lingua has been inactive since 2011, and in any case is interdisciplinary and had no linguistics articles in its last issue.


  4. […] Un  resoconto della copertura mediatica della vertenza può essere trovato qui. La replica di Mike Taylor all’affermazione di Elsevier per la quale APC di 400 euro non sarebbero sostenibili merita però di essere letta integralmente. […]

  5. David Marjanović Says:

    There have been two journals named Glossa; both stopped publishing in 1985.


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