"Article Processing Charges (APCs) are charged to authors of scholarly articles during the publication process. APCs are used by open access journals in lieu of subscription fees that libraries and readers traditionally have paid to gain access to research articles."
Additionally, hybrid journals may publish content behind a paywall by default and also offer an option to pay APCs in order to make an individual article open-access.
"APCs shift the burden of journal production costs (editing, peer review, hosting, archiving, preservation), to authors from readers. ...Corporate, non-profit, society, academic, and other publishers use a variety of models to meet their income needs and publishing service costs, and charging APCs is one model."
- Quotes from UNLV's Open Access guide
Many long-established and well-reputed journals now offer APCs as an option when publishing. This gives authors choices, especially in cases where a funding agency may require that the results of a research project be published for immediate open access.
The mere fact of a fee is not suspicious or predatory--the key is to determine why the publisher is requesting a particular fee, what additional service or value is being provided in exchange for that fee, and whether or not you as an author judge it to be an acceptable exchange.
If you are unsure about whether a particular publisher fee is appropriate or predatory, do not hesitate to contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian for consultation.
Many journals now exist that publish all their content in open-access format without passing fees along to the author. These journals generally have an alternate funding model, such as financial support from a scholarly society or university.
If you appreciate the benefits of open-access publishing but don't want to pay APCs, search these resources to discover zero-fee OA journals, or contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian for suggestions.
Open-access publishing agreements from some publishers, such as Elsevier and Wiley, may contain "fine print" or loopholes that authors may overlook. Although the article is published with a Creative Common license that provides free online access and broad reuse rights for readers, it may also grant the publisher an exclusive right to earn a profit from the work -- blocking even the author from commercial uses.
Learn more in the article below from the Authors Alliance.
As part of SHSU's subscription agreement with IGI Global, researchers at SHSU may be able to access waivers to publish open-access (OA) articles at no cost in IGI journals that are published with hybrid or gold OA models.
Waivers may be requested through the online OA Waiver Request form.
As part of SHSU's participation in TLCUA and their new 2022 license agreements with Elsevier, SHSU authors are eligible for discounts on APCs with some journals from this publisher.
If you have questions about obtaining a discount for an upcoming publication, please contact the SHSU library.
This flowchart may assist you in determining whether it is "worth" paying an APC for a particular publication, especially if the APC funding was not included in a grant budget.
For individual advice about what publishing options may exist for your manuscript, and whether to consider paying an APC, please contact the Scholarly Communication Librarian.