Speaking of APC revenue, Leigh-Ann Butler and colleagues have a great paper out in Quantitative Science Studies, on APC revenue from the big five commercial publishers (2015–2018):

Revenue from gold OA amounted to $612.5 million, while $448.3 million was obtained for publishing OA in hybrid journals. Among the five publishers, Springer-Nature made the most revenue from OA ($589.7 million), followed by Elsevier ($221.4 million), Wiley ($114.3 million), Taylor & Francis ($76.8 million) and Sage ($31.6 million).

That’s over $1 billion dollars, with nearly $200 million flowing to just two SpringerNature mega-journals (Scientific Reports and Nature Communications).

Science has a solid news story on the study. The Science piece includes self-serving complaints from SpringerNature on the study’s methods. One of the author’s, Stefanie Haustein, is quoted in reply:

If publishers believe our estimates are not accurate, we would appreciate it if they would publish their data and be transparent. Their lack of transparency is precisely what has made our work so slow and difficult.

As John Milton put in the 17th century: “They who have put out the people’s eyes, reproach them of their blindness.”

APC revenues chart from 2023 study