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CEU Library, Central European University

Open Access Primer

Article processing charges

Why were article processing charges created?

Article processing charges (APCs), were created as one way for a publisher to meet author or funder demand for open access and at the same time generate the income required to cover publishing costs (and maintain or increase profit margins).

Who pays these fees?

Mostly these fees are paid by universities or funding agencies via grants. Charges can be $500-$4,000, or more.

Is it possible to get the fees waived?

Some publishers may waive the fee if asked for those in developing economies - there is no harm in asking. Also, some scholars may not be associated with a university or may be early career without resources for covering these charges.

What is "double-dipping"?

Hybrid journals are those where only the articles whose authors have paid their APCs are open, (instead of the whole journal) and the rest of the articles are behind a paywall, by subscription.

This practice is called "double-dipping" as institutions may end up paying for the content more than once. APCs are determined after an article is accepted for publication/post-peer-review, and should not be confused with submission fees.

Is the idea of APCs sustainable?

APCs were meant to level the playing field particularly for scholars in disciplines where grant funding is unavailable, or for junior faculty without grants.

Some question whether this practice of shifting the burden to authors or their universities to pay for open access publishing is a sustainable model.  It does not seem to be in the spirit of equitable access and worldwide dissemination of research results.

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