Find out about:

  • the different versions of open access (Green, Gold and Hybrid)
  • complying with policy and funding mandates including for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
  • UQ eSpace, the University of Queensland's open access institutional repository for research outputs
  • article processing charge (APC) options.

4. Article processing charges (APCs)

An article processing charge (APC) is a fee paid to the publisher to make an article immediately available and openly accessible.  Under the Gold open access model (see Section 1), article processing charges are paid to cover publishing 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).

Do I need to pay APCs?

UQ has several Read & Publish agreements with publishers that may provide UQ corresponding authors with a pre-paid APC or discount on APCs. 

As a UQ Researcher, you can choose to make the author accepted manuscript available via 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 the ARC and will result in your research being openly available, after any embargo periods, for the broader community. For some funders, e.g. NHMRC, a rights retention strategy is required for this route to comply with immediate open access requirements.

Before paying APCs

Before you pay an APC, check:

  1. The publisher or journal is reputable. There is an increasing number of unethical publishers who will take your grant funds, with little or no return for the money
  2. The publisher provides clear information about the application of APCs, including outlining the expected costs and payment measures
  3. The journal is a fully (Gold) open access title to avoid supporting "double-dipping" by publishers receiving subscriptions from the University AND charging authors for publishing
  4. The copyright and licensing options available to you. Open access materials will generally carry a Creative Commons (CC) license (see section 6), 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
  5. Your funder policy regarding allocating some of your grant to cover APC costs
  6. If the publisher offers a discount you may be eligible for.

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 digital object identifier (DOI)? A unique and persistent identifier ensures continued access to your work and indexing in CrossRef and Google to improve the findability of your research. DOIs can also be added to the metadata in UQ eSpace to direct readers to the published version of your paper
  • Is the journal indexed in well-known scholarly databases? These include Ulrichsweb, DOAJ, Scopus and Web of Science
  • Does the journal have robust peer review processes?

Conducting simple checks before you pay can save you money, and in some cases your reputation, if the journal is not credible. Contact the Librarian Team if you are unsure about the journal you are considering.

The next section, Open access publishing workflow, further explains the process and what to consider for open access publishing.