Find out about:

  • the different versions of open access (Green, Gold and Hybrid)
  • complying with policy and funding mandates
  • 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 by an author 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 collected from authors 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).

  • The Library does NOT cover payment of APCs or any page charges to publish
  • Discuss with the publisher if it may be possible to qualify for a discounted APC charge

Contact your librarian if you have any questions about APCs or publishing options.

Do I need to pay 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 both ARC and NHMRC, and will result in your research being openly available, after any embargo periods, for the broader community.

Before paying APCs

Before you pay a journal to publish your research article, 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 your librarian 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.