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Open Access

Article processing charges (APCs)

An article processing charge (APC) is a fee paid to the publisher to make an article immediately available and openly accessible. Under the Gold Open Access model (see section titled What is open access?), article processing charges are paid to cover publishing costs. APCs support the publisher's business model, where the cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions) to the author (via the APC).

Do I need to pay APCs?
WSU has several Read & Publish Agreements (known as Transformative Agreements) with publishers that may provide WSU corresponding authors with a pre-paid APC or discount on APCs.

As a WSU Researcher, you can choose to make the Author Accepted Manuscript available via ResearchDirect, under the 'Green' Open Access model, and avoid paying ANY article processing charges.

This will satisfy the mandates for open access as required by both ARC and NHMRC, and will result in your research being openly available, after any embargo periods, for the broader community.

What should I do before paying an APC?

Before you pay an APC, check:

  1. The publisher or journal is reputable. There is an increasing number of unethical publishers who will take your grant funds, with little or no return for the money
  2. The publisher provides clear information about the application of APCs, including outlining the expected costs and payment measures
  3. The journal is a fully ('Gold') Open Access title to avoid supporting "double-dipping" by publishers receiving subscriptions from the University AND charging authors for publishing
  4. The copyright and licensing options available to you. Open access materials will generally carry a Creative Commons (CC) license (see section titled Copyright and Creative Commons), and ideally, the author should have the option to select the type of CC license to be applied, as well as retain the copyright for the material
  5. Your funder policy regarding allocating some of your grant to cover APC costs
  6. If the publisher offers a discount, you may be eligible for.

A review of some of the standard considerations for choosing a journal can assist in deciding whether or not to pay APCs. For example:

  • Will your article be assigned a digital object identifier (DOI)? A unique and persistent identifier ensures continued access to your work and indexing in CrossRef and Google to improve the findability of your research. DOIs can also be added to the metadata in ResearchDirect to direct readers to the published version of your paper
  • Is the journal indexed in well-known scholarly databases? These include Ulrichsweb, DOAJ, Scopus and Web of Science
  • Does the journal have robust peer review processes?
  • Conducting simple checks before you pay can save you money, and in some cases, your reputation if the journal is not credible.

Contact your School Librarian if you are unsure about the publishing source you are considering.

The next step, Open access publishing workflow, provides direction on what to consider for open access publishing.

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)