Introduction: Open access (OA) publishing often requires article processing charges (APCs). While OA provides opportunities for broader readership, authors able to afford APCs are more commonly associated with well-funded, high-income country institutions, skewing knowledge dissemination. Here, we evaluate publishing models, OA practices, and APCs in cardiology and cardiac surgery.
Methods: The InCites Journal Citation Reports 2019 directory by Clarivate Analytics was searched for "Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems" journals. Sister journals of included journals were identified. All journals were categorized as predominantly cardiology or cardiac surgery. Publishing models, APCs, and APC waivers were defined for all journals.
Results: One hundred sixty-one journals were identified (139 cardiology, 22 cardiac surgery). APCs ranged from $244 to $5,000 ($244-5,000 cardiology; $383-3,300 cardiac surgery), with mean $2,911±891 and median $3,000 (interquartile range [IQR]: $2,500-3,425) across 139 journals with non-zero available APCs ($2,970±890, median $3,000, IQR: $2,573-3,450, cardiology; $2,491±799, median $2,740, IQR: $2,300-3,000, cardiac surgery). Average APCs were $3,307±566 and median $3,250 (IQR: $3,000-3,500) for hybrid journals ($3,344±583, median $3,260, IQR: $3,000-3,690, cardiology; $2,983±221, median $2,975, IQR: $2,780-3,149, cardiac surgery) and $1,997±832 and median $2,100 (IQR: $1,404-2,538) for fully OA journals ($2,039±843, median $2,100, IQR: $1,419-2,604, cardiology; $1,788±805, median $2,000, IQR: $1,475-2,345, cardiac surgery). Waivers were available for 51 (86.4%) fully OA and 37 (37.4%) hybrid journals. Seventeen journals were fully OA without APCs, one journal did not yet release APCs, and four journals were subscription-only.
Conclusion: OA publishing is common in cardiology and cardiac surgery with substantial APCs. Waivers remain limited, posing barriers for unfunded and lesser-funded researchers.
Keywords: Access to Information; Cardiac Surgical Procedures; Cardiology; Open Access Publishing; Periodicals as Topic; Publishing.