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The Right Place to Publish: Considerations in Choosing a Journal or Publisher

Article Processing Charges (APCs) are applied by some publishers to fund immediate Open Access where this is desired by the author/s or required by a funder. This model introduces flexibility for those who can afford it. However, because in the APC model authors must "pay to play" there may be concerns about equity of access to means of publication, particularly for early career or unaffiliated researchers, and those from developing countries or marginalized communities.

Also, some publishers offer hybrid journals, which include articles that are Open Access by APC within otherwise subscription journals. In these cases universities and libraries may pay more than once for access to the same content; although APCs are paid, a subscription may have to be maintained because only selected articles within a hybrid journal are made Open Access through APC.

In summary, APCs can be an expedient mechanism in scholarly communication but are best used with a critical awareness of issues and alternatives. Some strategies and measures seek to mitigate issues related to APCs:

  • Some journals offer a discount or waiver based on author employment or other status. See for example IEEE: Can my APC be discounted or waived? 
  • Funders, including the Tri-agencies, may acknowledge APCs as a cost of research dissemination and consider them eligible for funding within grant applications, particularly where Open Access to outcomes of the research is an expectation.
  • Look into internal grant supports related to publishing, such as the Publish Grants through SRCA.
    SFU Library offers useful template language for including APC costs in grant proposals.
  • Librarians are very happy to help look into high-quality, APC-free Open Access journals.
    Contact us for more information.

In the following cases the Library has a negotiated Open Access or APC discounts for University-affiliated authors as part of a content license with a given publisher:

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