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Shimberg Health Sciences Library & Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange

Article Processing Charges (APCs) Guide

A guide to available discounts on APCs for USF authors.


Some of the USF Health Libraries' journal subscription packages include discounted rates on article processing charges (APCs) for USF authors publishing in those journals, as a way to encourage open access (OA) publishing.

This guide outlines all known APC agreements granted by our current publisher contracts. Use the list at left to navigate by publisher.

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What is open access?

Open access (OA) refers to information that is online, unrestricted, and freely available to read.  OA literature typically has fewer copyright restrictions than more traditionally published work, which allows it to be more widely shared and accessed.

There are various models of OA; some journals are entirely open while others are partially open. Gold OA refers to fully OA journals, where all content is freely available online. Hybrid OA refers to subscription-based journals that publish some OA content for a fee. This is also referred to as paid open access. Both Gold and Hybrid OA journals may charge article processing charges (APCs).

For more information, read SPARC's (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) OA Fact Sheet.

What are the benefits of publishing OA?

Publishing OA has several benefits, including:

  • Higher citation rates, according to a recent study
  • More exposure for your work
  • Practitioners can better access and apply findings
  • The public can better access research

What are APCs?

Article processing charges, or APCs, are the fees authors are charged by some Gold or Hybrid OA journal publishers to publish that author’s work as open access. These fees can be several thousand dollars, depending on the publisher. It is common for researchers to write the cost of APCs into their grants if they plan to publish open access. According to data from the Directory of Open Access Journals, around two-thirds of peer-reviewed, gold OA journals do not charge fees. To find OA journals that do not charge APCs at all, visit the Directory of Open Access Journals and refine the results list by "without fees."

What are read-and-publish agreements?

A growing trend in scholarly publishing is read-and-publish agreements, also known as transformative agreements. These are agreements in which the publisher receives payment for online access (“reading”) and payment for publishing (APCs waived or reduced) bundled into a single subscription. This bundling brings payment for publishing into a contractual arrangement with institutions rather than being addressed ad hoc by individual authors who are choosing open access publishing. Subscription costs are typically paid by academic institutions via their libraries.

These contracts are known as transformative agreements because the idea is that a publisher intends to transition journals from Hybrid OA to Gold OA, with the fees paid by subscribing institutions covering more publishing and less access each year as that transition takes place. The intent is to create a pathway for a shift away from payment to read and toward payment to publish.

Read-and-publish agreements shift the cost of open access publishing from individual researchers to their institutions, specifically their academic libraries. There are advantages and disadvantages for all parties involved (researchers, libraries, publishers) and the implications of these agreements are still emerging.