Article Processing Charges: What They Are and Why They Exist

By Erin Watson on Sep 28, 2021

This piece contains insights from our Expert Editorial Team, including Lindsay Wertman, Managing Director, and Erin Watson, Assistant Acquisitions Editor.

In the world of open research, the label “free” is used quite frequently. However, while there are no paywalls or restrictions of any kind to access the published open content, the process for publishing such work does not come without cost. Publishers work tirelessly to ensure that open research is published with the highest level of quality, integrity, and accuracy, and this means a tremendous investment of time and resources. Although most open research does not have to be printed, releasing content electronically still requires the same level of care as print publications, which includes everything from editorial oversight and communications, submission system usage (as well as maintenance and management), logging and formatting, layout and typesetting, proofing, promotional activities, metadata distribution, indexing and abstracting initiatives, and coordinating with global distribution and service partners – and this is just a short list of activities, we will dive into a more robust list below.
Benefits of Publishing Open Access with IGI Global
  • Affordable APCs (much lower than the
    industry average)
  • Rigorous & Expediate Publishing
  • Networking & Collaboration
  • Acceleration of Citation Impact
  • Increased Discoverability
Quick Links
Open Access Publishing
Submit an OA Journal Proposal
Submit an OA Manuscript
View all OA Journals
Read and Publish Model
What is an APC and Why is it Necessary?
In the traditional subscription-based journal publishing model readers must pay to access published content, and as such, publishers are able to recoup the cost of resources through subscription fees. But open access journals have no paywall, making the content free for anyone who wishes to access it, thus, creating the need for certain measures that publishers must take to ensure that they are able to sustain the publishing process and continue to offer free content to the academic community. And that is why publishers charge an open access Article Processing Charge (APC) for open access publishing. The fee is meant to help cover the costs of resources expended to publish the open content. An Article Processing Charge (APC) fee generally ranges anywhere from US $500 to US $5,000 per article (a big range that varies by publication and publisher) that must be paid to recover the costs of the publisher to produce an article. The article author(s) or his/her/their respective institution or a funding body supporting the journal must pay this cost.
The APC offsets the costs of all the activities associated with the publication of the article manuscript (many of these were already covered above), including:
  • Digital tools used to support the article manuscript management and review process
  • Editorial support which includes article manuscript tracking, communications, submission guideline checks, and communications with authors and reviewers
  • Third-party software (e.g. plagiarism checks)
  • Logging and formatting
  • Layout and Typesetting
  • Proofing
  • Online hosting
  • Collaboration with global partners
  • Submission of the content to numerous abstracts, directories, and indexes
  • Promotional support and activities including metadata distribution, press releases, promotional communications, web content, ads, flyers, brochures, postcards, etc. for the journal and its published contents
  • The fact that all published articles will be freely accessible and able to be posted and disseminated widely by the authors(Note: IGI Global open access journal article manuscript publishing offers authors the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licensing arrangement. The copyright for the work remains solely with the author(s) of the
    article manuscript)
When is the APC Due?
The payment of the APC is not required until AFTER an article manuscript has undergone a full double-blind peer review process and has been accepted for publication (authors are not requested to pay an APC if their work is rejected). This is the practice that IGI Global follows, as well as other credible publishers. Please note that IGI Global cannot schedule an open access article for publication or publish the open access article until payment has been received.
It’s very important that authors keep in mind that for any open access journal, especially gold open access journals where open access publishing is the only method of publication, authors are expected to have the APC paid in a timely fashion. Authors that utilize an open access journal’s resources and time with no intent to pay the open access Article Processing Charge (APC) if their article is accepted following the peer review process are acting unethically, and in an exploitative manner. Most publishers currently have robust submission systems that monitor submission activity and will begin to see trends if authors are continually submitting manuscripts, using reviewer resources, and then not paying the APC if their work is accepted.
Benefits For Authors
In addition to all the full publishing and editorial services offered by the publisher (as specified above), by removing the price barriers to access the work and allowing the article and the journal to reach a larger audience, authors have a better likelihood of achieving higher citation impact for their work and also greater potential for future research, development, and collaboration opportunities. The CC BY 4.0 license is applied and therefore the copyright of the published work remains with the authors (so they will have greater flexibility to use the work as they please after publication) and the content is immediately freely accessible to the public upon its publication. Others may distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, so long as they credit the author for the original creation. The benefits are truly endless for the authors of the work.
APC Discounts and Waivers
Those coming from certain developing countries can take advantage of discounts or waivers with careful consideration by the publisher. Also at IGI Global, authors of submitted article manuscripts can take advantage of IGI Global’s Open Access Fee Waiver (Read & Publish) Initiative, which allows authors who are affiliated with institutions that are currently subscribed to one or more IGI Global e-Collections to benefit from APC funding (you can learn more about how this all works here). In the case of a multi-authored work, even if only one author is eligible for the discount or waiver, all authors of the work will benefit from the waiver or discount. Additionally, if an author chooses to utilize any of IGI Global’s Author Services on their article manuscript, the amount paid for any of these author services will be deducted from the final Article Processing Charge (APC). IGI Global also ongoingly offers special discounts based on topic coverage, submission dates, etc. to support authors with greater open access publishing accessibility.
Author Services
For more information regarding the benefits of open access publishing, we strongly encourage reading the following article published by Web of Science titled “A researcher’s complete guide to open access papers”. We also encourage you to contact IGI Global’s Open Access Division at:, to learn more about IGI Global’s open access
publishing opportunities.
About IGI Global

Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing process. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 150,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. Learn More About IGI Global >

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