Article processing charge

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An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged to authors in order to publish an article in an open access academic journal.[1][2] This fee is usually paid by an author's institution or research funder rather than by the author themselves.[3]


Open access journals use a variety of ways to generate the income required to cover publishing costs, such as subsidies from institutions.[4] A majority of open access journals do not charge Article Processing Charges,[5] but a significant and growing number of them do.[6] They are the most common funding method for professionally published open access articles.[7]

Different academic publishers have widely varying levels of fees, from under $100 to over $3,000.[1] High fees are sometimes charged by traditional publishers in order to publish in a hybrid open access journal, which make an individual article in a subscription journal open access. The average APC for hybrid journals has been calculated to be almost twice as high as APCs from full open access publishers.[8] Journals with high impact factors from major publishers tend to have the highest APCs.[1] Many open access publishers, such as PLOS, waive their APCs for those who cannot afford to pay them.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Solomon, David J.; Björk, Bo-Christer (August 2012). "A study of open access journals using article processing charges". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 63 (8): 1485–1495. doi:10.1002/asi.22673. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Potential Role for Intermediaries in Managing the Payment of Open Access Article Processing Charges (APCs)". Research Information Network. October 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Suber, Peter (2012). Open access. MIT Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9780262517638. 
  4. ^ Suber, Peter (2012). Open access. MIT Press. p. 136. ISBN 9780262517638. 
  5. ^ Kozak, Marcin; Hartley, James (December 2013). "Publication fees for open access journals: Different disciplines—different methods". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 64 (12). doi:10.1002/asi.22972. 
  6. ^ Laakso, Mikael; Björk, Bo-Christer (2012). "Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure". BMC Medicine 10 (1): 124. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-124. PMC 3478161. PMID 23088823. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (2012). "Pricing principles used by Scholarly Open Access Publishers". Learned Publishing 25 (3). Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (March 2014). Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Publication fees". PLOS. Retrieved 26 November 2013.