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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Open Access at Illinois: Policy and Resources

Information for UIUC researchers about open access, including about the university policy on Open Access to Research Articles, approved by the UIUC Faculty Senate on October 19, 2015.

Article Processing Charges (APC) Definition

Article processing charges are fees that journals charge to publish an article open access in advance of the publication. These charges are typically paid by the researcher, who may draw on grant funds or other sources to pay the fees depending on the situation. Generally APCs are paid after an article is accepted for publication and before it appears in the journal. APCs are distinct from submission fees, which are rare and should be looked on with suspicion by authors evaluating journals for quality. APCs are also distinct from page charges or overlength charges, which some publishers, particularly in the sciences, have historically charged, and distinct from book subvention costs common among some humanities monograph publishers.

APC amounts vary by journal, and they are not charged by all open access journals, particularly in the humanities where researchers rarely have grants to cover the fees.

APC Funding Sources

As of fall 2020, the OVCRI has updated its award policies to allow University of Illinois faculty to apply for funding for APC charges as publication subvention fees. Otherwise, no central funding pool for APCs exists on campus, including in the Library. Some faculty may use research or grant funds for this purpose.

However, library agreements with specific publishers or journals may allow for Illinois authors to publisher their articles open access with a waiver of the APC or a reduction in the APC, as listed below.

APC Waivers and Reductions Available to Illinois Authors

In most cases below, the corresponding author must be affiliated with the institution with the waiver or discount agreement. Illinois authors collaborating with individuals at other institutions on research may be eligible for waivers and discounts with other publishers or journals than those listed below, if their co-author is the corresponding author. Because corresponding authors are typically the first listed author on publications and author order has implications for credit in some disciplines, co-authors should always be deliberate in discussing author order about corresponding author status in relations to the specific journal's practices.

To date, the University of Illinois has agreements for the following publishers or journals for APC waivers or discounts (this list will be updated as agreements arise or change). To avoid problems with recognition of your eligibility, submit the article using your email address. Waivers and discounts for APCs solely apply to OA publishing charges and not other types of article charges that publishers may have, such as page charges or excessive length charges.

The existence of a waiver or discount agreement does not indicate an endorsement of specific journals by any particular publisher. The quality of the journal will depend on the specific editorial board and their processes, and it should be evaluated independently by the researcher.