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Open Access: Article processing charges

A guide to support UQ researchers to understand the key points of Open Access as an option for publishing journal articles.

Article processing charges

Article processing chargesAn article processing charge (APC) is a fee paid by an author to the publisher to make an article immediately available and openly accessible.  Open Access principles promote free (unhindered) availability of research and scholarly output to anyone with an internet connection. However, there are costs involved at every stage of the publishing process, and under the Gold Open Access model, article processing charges are collected from authors to cover these costs. APCs support the publisher's business model where, the cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions) to the author (via the APC).

At present UQ Library does not cover payment of article processing charges (APC), or any page charges to publish. It may be possible to qualify for a discounted APC charge. Please contact your librarian for more information.

 

Important points to note (before paying APCs)

Before you commit to paying an APC there are several things you should consider and some points which you must be aware of in regards to the journal charging for you to publish your research article.

  • Check that the publisher/journal is reputable: there are an increasing number of unethical publishers whose primary interest is in fleecing scholars of their grant funds with little or no return for the money
  • Does the publisher provide clear information about the application of APCs, including outlining the expected costs and payment measures? 
  • Confirm that the journal is a fully (Pure Gold) Open Access title to avoid inadvertently supporting "double-dipping" by publishers receiving subscriptions from the University AND charging authors for publishing.
  • Consider the copyright and licensing options available to you: Open Access materials will generally carry a Creative Commons license, and ideally the author should have the option to select the type of CC license to be applied as well as retaining the copyright for the material 
  • Check your funder policy regarding allocating some of your grant to cover APC costs

In addition, a review of some of the standard considerations for choosing a journal can assist in deciding whether or not to pay APCs. For example:

  • Will your article be assigned a DOI?: a unique and persistent identifier ensures continued accessibility to your work and will be indexed in CrossRef and Google to improve the findibility of your research. DOIs can also be added to the metadata in eSpace to direct readers to the published version of your paper
  • Is the journal indexed in well-known scholarly databases? Ulrichsweb; DOAJ; Scopus; Web of Science
  • Does the journal have robust peer review processes?

Conducting simple checks before you pay can save your money and in some cases, your reputation, if the journal is not credible.  If you still have reservations contact your librarian for support. 

Do I need to pay at all?

As a UQ Researcher you can choose to make the author accepted version of your article available via the institutional repository, UQ eSpace under the Green Open Access model and avoid paying ANY article processing charges. 

This will satisfy the mandates for Open Access as required by both ARC and NHMRC, and will result in your research being openly available after any embargo periods for the broader community. 

Research funding and article processing charges

Publishing in an open access journal (which may or may not charge an article processing fee) and publishing in a subscription journal which offers hybrid open access (for a fee) are supported under the ARC and NHMRC open access mandates.

Both the ARC and the NHMRC do allow some of their grant allocation to be directed to publications costs. Because project budgets and dissemination pressures vary, funded researchers must decide which open access option is most appropriate for their circumstances.