Article processing charge
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. This fee is usually paid by an author's institution or research funder rather than by the author themselves. Some publishers waive the fee in cases of hardship. 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.
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 and subscriptions. A majority of open access journals do not charge article processing charges, but a significant and growing number of them do. They are the most common funding method for professionally published open access articles.
Article Processing Charge fees and APC's underlining neoliberal ideology applied to academic research and its relative, usually extremely expensive and thus exclusive pay-walled access limiting the circulation and use of research among less affluent institutions, scholars, and students - among other controversies - is part of the wider and increasing global Open Access OA's ethics debate (see for example Kember, S., 2014, 'Opening Out from Open Access: Writing and Publishing in Response to Neoliberalism'; Kember, S. 2016, 'How Open is Open Access?'; Page, B. 2018, 'Angry Publishers Debate OA monographs at IPG').
Different academic publishers have widely varying levels of fees, from under $100 to over $3000. 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. Journals with high impact factors from major publishers tend to have the highest APCs. Many open access publishers, such as PLOS, waive their APCs for those who cannot afford to pay them.
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 $1700 per article, with a surcharge of $1350 for open-access. Similarly, AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research charges $1000 for closed-access and $3500 for open-access.
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; additional fees might exist for color figures, 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. Page charge may refer to either publication or submission fees.
- Vanity press, a book publisher that charges publication fees with no selection criteria
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- Richard Van Noorden, "Open access: The true cost of science publishing", Nature 495, 426–429 (28 March 2013) doi:10.1038/495426a 
- Suber, Peter (2012). Open access. MIT Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9780262517638.
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- Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (2012). "Pricing principles used by Scholarly Open Access Publishers" (PDF). Learned Publishing. 25 (3). Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- Kember, Sarah. "Opening Out from Open Access: Writing and Publishing in Response to Neoliberalism". ADA. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
- Socha, Beata (20 April 2017). "How Much Do Top Publishers Charge for Open Access?". OpenScience. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
- García Martín, Miguel (2015-12-30). "Las revistas de Geografía en el Journal Citation Reports: lucro económico versus acceso abierto". Revista española de Documentación Científica (in Spanish). 38 (4): 105. doi:10.3989/redc.2015.4.1248. ISSN 1988-4621.
- Björk, Bo-Christer; Solomon, David (March 2014). "Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- PNAS, Procedures for Submitting Manuscripts
- American Geophysical Union publication fee table
- "(IEEE) 2014 Voluntary Page and Overlength Article Charges" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Journals with Fees for Submitted Paper". Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Robert Kiley (2013). "Colour and page charges: results of a brief survey" (PDF).
- Curb, L. A., & Abramson, C.I. (2012) An examination of author-paid charges in science journals. Comprehensive Psychology, 1, 4.
- Guy, M., Holl, A. (2015) Article Processing Charges. Briefing Paper, PASTEUR4OA project