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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). 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.
Cambridge University Press Journals (Full Waiver)
Waives OA publication fees for research articles accepted to fully open access journals or hybrid journals between January 2021-December 2022 for the initial trial period. (Publication in fully subscription journals and in Cambridge UP books are not eligible.) Corresponding author must be from UIUC, and they should use their institutional email address and affiliation when submitting the article. If an article is accepted, the author will receive an email to opt into open acces, and then an email to set up an account with RightsLink, where they should select the option to seek funding from their institution. The RightsLink email may say you need to set up a payment, but you are really opting in to the OA program, and "payment" will be $0.
Cambridge will follow up after publication to provide a second opportunity to opt into the program. See the Cambridge walk through information for authors.
If you are asked for an address as part of this process, please use the the library acquisitions address
Hindawi (Full Waiver)
APC waivers for Hindawi fully open access journals are included in the Wiley agreement described separately below. For Hindawi journals, corresponding author eligibility should be automatically identified and applied by the journal. If that does not occur, please contact the journal editors. Eligibility is based on an article submission date between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2025.
IEEE (Full Waiver)
IEEE publishes nearly 200 journals in engineering and technology. Illinois authors are eligible for a full waiver of the APC publication fee. Illinois authors with an accepted article should choose the "Open Access" option when asked by IEEE, which will then be routed for approval of the waiver.
IGI Global (Full Waiver, limited number annually)
IGI Global provides APC waivers to a limited number of individuals at subscribing institutions based on the level of subscriptions. The waivers are provided on a first come, first serve basis. The limit resets each year. Authors are notified of their ability to opt in upon submitting a manuscript. Both book chapters and articles are eligible (but not entire book titles).
IOP Publishing (Full Waiver)
Articles with an acceptance date of January 1, 2023 or later are eligible. Corresponding author must be facutly, staff, or student at Illinois for an eligible article type. For further details, please consult the link above or contact Mary Schlembach
, Chemistry and Physical Sciences Librarian.
MDPI (10% Discount)
Illinois affiliated authors receive a 10% discount. Use your illinois.edu address when submitting the article to an MDPI journal and it will be automatically registered for the program.
Microbiology Society (Waiver)
Illinois authors are eligible for a full waiver of the APC for all Microbiology Society journals under a "read and publish" agreement with the library. The corresponding author must submit the article with an illinois.edu email address.
PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine (Waiver)
Covers publication fees for Illinois corresponding and contributing authors for articles in PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine published between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023. If a corresponding author is not from Illinois or another institution with a similar agreement, they will receive a 25% discount on their publication fee due to the Illinois co-author's membership status but will be responsible for the remainder of the cost.
SCOAP3 (Assorted High Energy Physics) Journals (Waiver)
SCOAP3 is a consortium that includes high energy physics journals from several different publishers. Specific journals are listed at the link.
Wiley Hybrid and Gold Journals (Waiver, updated/expanded Jan 2023)
Following the trial in 2022, this agreement is extended and expanded to include articles in any hybrid or gold OA journal from Wiley. Eligibility details vary as follows.
Articles in hybrid journals are eligible based on the date of acceptance, with an acceptance date up to December 31, 2025. Corresponding authors for hybrid articles should choose the open access option when prompted during the completion of their author agreement. Articles in gold (fully) OA journals are eligible based on their date of submission, with December 31, 2025 as the cutoff date. Corresponding authors for gold journals must select the option to indicate their APC is covered by an agreement, and select UIUC as the institution, during the submission process. Unlike hybrid journals, the system at this time does not notify you of your eligibility so you must be proactive. In either case, articles must have a corresponding author from Illinois.
[See a list of eligible Wiley hybrid journals and the APC rate for each.
Some scholarly societies with agreements to publish their journals through Wiley may have a separate OA publication fee from Wiley's that is not waived. We are awaiting a list of these journals and will update this when it becomes available.
Scholarly Communication and Publishing