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 to make a work available open access in either an open access journal or hybrid journal.[1][2][3] This fee is usually paid by an author's institution or research funder rather than by the author themselves.[4] Some publishers waive the fee in cases of hardship.[5] An article processing charge does not guarantee that the author retains copyright to the work, or that it will be made available under a Creative Commons license.[citation needed]


Journals use a variety of ways to generate the income required to cover publishing costs (including editorial costs, any costs of administering the peer review system), such as subsidies from institutions[6] and subscriptions. A majority of open access journals do not charge article processing charges,[7] but a significant and growing number of them do.[8] They are the most common funding method for professionally published open access articles.[9]

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.[10] 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.[5]

Open access articles often have a surcharge compared to a closed-access APC; for example the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences regularly charges $1,700 per article, with a surcharge of $1,350 for open-access.[11] Similarly, AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research charges $1000 for closed-access and $3500 for open-access.[12]

Even when publishers do not charge standard fees, excess or overlength fees might still apply after a certain number of pages or publication units is exceeded;[12][13] additional fees might exist for color figures,[11] primarily for print journals that are not online-only.

While publication charges occur upon article acceptance, article submission fees are charged prior to the start of peer review; they are not uncommon among journals in some fields, e.g., finance and economics.[14] Page charge may refer to either publication or submission fees.

See also[edit]

  • Vanity press, a book publisher that charges publication fees with no selection criteria


  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)" (PDF). Research Information Network. October 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Richard Van Noorden, "Open access: The true cost of science publishing", Nature 495, 426–429 (28 March 2013) doi:10.1038/495426a [1]
  4. ^ Suber, Peter (2012). Open access. MIT Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9780262517638. 
  5. ^ a b "Publication fees". PLOS. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Suber, Peter (2012). Open access. MIT Press. p. 136. ISBN 9780262517638. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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 3478161free to read. PMID 23088823. Retrieved 26 November 2013.  open access publication - free to read
  9. ^ Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (2012). "Pricing principles used by Scholarly Open Access Publishers" (PDF). Learned Publishing. 25 (3). Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (March 2014). "Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  11. ^ a b PNAS, Procedures for Submitting Manuscripts
  12. ^ a b American Geophysical Union publication fee table
  13. ^ "(IEEE) 2014 Voluntary Page and Overlength Article Charges" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Journals with Fees for Submitted Paper". Retrieved 2 February 2015. 

Further reading[edit]