Posts Tagged ‘APC’

In October, Springer announced a new Open Access agreement for UK institutions: Springer Compact. This pilot scheme aims to remove the double payment by institutions to publishers, often referred to as ‘double-dipping’.

Many publishers now offer a ‘hybrid’ OA model, which requires institutions to purchase subscriptions to journals, but then also to pay Article Processing Charges to make individual papers available open access in those same journals. Therefore institutions are paying to make their own research available as open access but then also buying this research again as part of their subscriptions.

Springer Compact seeks to rectify this by combining subscription costs and open access fees into a single annual payment. This radical move will see papers automatically made available via the Gold route if the lead author’s institution subscribes to the journal that the paper is due to be published in. Springer hope that this will allow a far greater amount of research to be made available open access, and will reduce the administration time for processing such requests.

The University of Surrey Library has signed up to the pilot scheme which will run until December 2018. To take advantage of Springer Compact at the University of Surrey:

  • Make sure that the article is to be published in an eligible Open Choice journal
  • Ensure that the corresponding author is at the University of Surrey – use your institutional email address
  • Publish an Original Paper or Review Paper

Once an article has been accepted and recognised as being eligible for Springer Compact, the SRI Open Access team will be asked to verify that the lead author is at the University of Surrey. Once this has been done the paper will be automatically made available open access on publication.


Useful links:

‘Open access agreement for UK authors’ http://www.springer.com/gp/open-access/springer-open-choice/for-uk-authors-intro/731990


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According to Cogent OA, an open access scholarly publisher which is backed by Taylor and Francis, there can be freedom on Article Processing Charges (APC) and they are setting a trend.

Cogent have announced a new trial for APC payments called ‘Freedom APCs’. This new model offers an increased flexibility for authors to ‘choose’ the amount that they pay for APC.  The aim of this new trial model is to explore how the APC amount selected by an author relates to their “career stage, subject area and location etc” in order to remove barriers from open access publishing. The trial model will also act as a research project with the global OA community to influence decisions about the affordability of APC payments, and encourage wider discussion about open access pricings.

Under their new model, Cogent OA requests authors to investigate all funding opportunities for their work, including “their funding agency, institution or company” and to then decide on the price that they feel they are able to pay – although they are keen to state that the amount selected is ultimately the decision of the author.

In Cogent OA’s press release Bryan Vickery, the Director of Cogent OA, said that

We wanted to go further than an all-or-nothing waiver program, and really evaluate what authors are able or willing to pay. We appreciate that not all researchers are the same. Some are established in their careers and well-funded, others are just starting out, or working in regions of the world with limited financial resources.

The ‘Freedom APC’ model launched on the 30th March 2015, and an initial analysis of the data collected will be made available in 2016.


‘Under embargo until Monday 30th March 14:00(GMT) – Cogent OA launches Freedom APCs’ http://news.cision.com/taylor—francis/r/under-embargo-until-monday-30th-march-14-00-gmt—cogent-oa-launches-freedom-apcs,c9746553 [accessed 01/04/2015]

‘What are Freedom APCs?’ http://cogentoa.tandfonline.com/page/aboutCogentOA/authors/apcs [accessed 01/04/2015]

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Last week the Wellcome Trust has published information highlighting how much money it has contributed towards article processing charges (APC) in the 2013-14 year. The details indicate that around £4.7 million was spent on making 2556 articles open access, with an average APC payment costing £1837. The data goes further to compare the number of articles published in fully open access journals or hybrid journals, i.e. journals which require a subscription but offer paid open access for single papers.

Robert Kiley’s analysis (See table below) emphasises that there is a continued preference for papers to be published in the traditional hybrid journals, rather than the fully open access journals. He implies that this trend may prove difficult to break due to the pressures on many academics to ensure that their work is published in high impact journals.

Wellcome Table 2

The Wellcome Trust’s blog also explores the problems of the significant difference between individual APC costs in fully open access journals and those which are subscription based. Wellcome’s data shows that the average APC payment in Elsevier journals was £2930, which is £1816 higher than the average cost in PLOS, a fully open access publisher. This may seem troubling as hybrid publishers are simultaneously generating income through subscriptions. The blog notes with interest that FWF, the Austrian Science Fund, has recently imposed a price cap on the APC of hybrid articles, as an attempt to control the ineffectiveness of the hybrid market. We can only wait to see if this is enough to influence both the author’s view towards open access publishing and the publisher’s own prices.

Additionally, Kilney discusses that it can be difficult to monitor whether publishers are complying properly with the Wellcome Guidelines, noting that 13% of APC papers were not available on PubMed Central, although some of these may be made available once the final, published version is produced. He estimates that this equates to around £480,000 of funded APC money! Therefore, Kilney states that in the future this compliance to deposit OA papers in PMC must be addressed as a priority.

I feel that the Wellcome Trust’s report is particularly useful in clearly exposing the discrepancies in APC costs across publishers, and the apparent differences in author attitude and behaviour towards fully open access and hybrid journals, which will hopefully influence a fairer system of funded open access publishing in the future. Similarly, it is useful in identifying the possible issues around compliance and depositing which will need focusing on in the future.



FWF, New Policy for Open Access and Publication Costs, < https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/news-and-media-relations/news/detail/nid/20141219-2097/> [accessed 04/03/2015]

Robert Kiley, The Reckoning: An Analysis of Wellcome Trust Open Access Spend 2013-14, <http://blog.wellcome.ac.uk/2015/03/03/the-reckoning-an-analysis-of-wellcome-trust-open-access-spend-2013-14/>[accessed 04/03/2015]


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