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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.
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 Waivers and Reductions Available to Illinois Authors
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. 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.
In most cases, 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.
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):
BioMed Central (15% Discount)
Illinois authors receive a 15% discount. Follow the link for information about how to indicate your eligibility for the waiver when you submit your article.
Cambridge University Press Journals (Full Waiver)
Waives OA publication fees for research articles in fully open access journals or hybrid journals, if article is received by Cambridge from 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 set up an account with RightsLink, where they should choose the OA publication option (for free, but authors must opt in). 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.
Although Cambridge will follow up after publication to provide a second opportunity to opt into the program. Retroactive opt in is possible if the article was eligible. See the Cambridge walk through information for authors.
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.
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.
Scholarly Communication and Publishing