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Article Processing Charges and Green OA: Do I Have to Pay to Have My Work Openly Accessible?

May 10, 2019

Green circle with an open lock and text that reads "Open Access"

Scholarly Publishing Impact News is a regular news initiative spearheaded by the library’s Scholarly Communications Librarian, Jennifer Beamer. Its purpose is to inform and educate on topics related to the scholarly publishing environment. If you have suggestions or questions for topics you would like to see in this news column, contact Jennifer Beamer.

Do I have to pay to have my work openly accessible?: Open Access Models

Open Access (OA) often gets equated with just one path to achieving it: paying Article Processing Charges (APCs) to publish OA journal articles. In this business model, authors, institutions, or research funders, must pay a fee to cover the publishing costs (Tickle, 2018).  In reality, there are a number of routes to publishing your work OA. Usually identified by ‘gold’, ‘bronze’, ‘green’, or ‘diamond’; the latter two OA models—green and diamond—do not have APCs:

  • Green OA refers to author self-archiving of a near-final version of their work (usually the accepted manuscript or ‘postprint’) on a personal website or general-purpose repository (the latter is preferable due to better long-term preservation).
  • Diamond OA refers to availability on the journal website without payment of any APCs.  
  • Gold OA often requires payment of additional APCs for immediate access upon publication.
  • Bronze OA refers to articles made free-to-read on the publisher website, but without any explicit open license (Piwowar et al, 2018). Many of the larger publishers charge very high APCs for OA (e.g., Springer Nature costs on average USD $5,200 per article) (Nature Communications).
  • The high and unsustainable growth in the cost of subscription prices are often be transferred into increasing APCs (Björk, 2017; Pinfeld, Salter & Bath, 2015).
How to make your research Open Access without breaking the bank. Do you know a free OA journal you want to submit to? Go ahead and submit. Can you publish the post-print? Publish the post-print of your article: after it has been peer reviewed, but before final editorial type-setting. Can you publish the pre-print? Publish the pre-print of your article: before it has been submitted to a journal and peer-reviewed. If none of these apply, consider shoosing a different journal to submit to, if possible.
Some steps allowing free Open Access publishing for authors.

Green OA and The Claremont Colleges Library

The Library has several ways to assist you with OA publishing.  While we do not currently provide APC funds to offset costs, we can assist with the following:

  • Helping you negotiate your permissions (via SHERPA/RoMEO).  
  • Supporting Green OA publishing by helping you deposit your preprint in the Library’s institutional repository Scholarship@Claremont.
    • FYI: Most publishers ( ~81%) give some form of blanket permission for authors to archive a version of their articles in an openly accessible place. The 19% that do not allow authors to archive a version of their article often allow for preprint archiving, which can be negotiated prior to signing the author’s copyright release.
  • Helping you deposit your work in Scholarship@Claremont or help you find a suitable disciplinary OA repository for your work.

For more information, contact Jennifer Beamer.

Works Cited:

Björk (2017). “Growth of Hybrid Open Access, 2009–2016.” PeerJ 5 (September): e3878.

Nature Communications. (2019).  “Article processing charges

Pinfield, S., Salter,J. and Bath, P.A.. (2015). “The ‘Total Cost of Publication’ in a

Hybrid Open-Access Environment: Institutional Approaches to Funding Journal Article- Processing Charges in Combination with Subscriptions.” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 67 (7): 1751–66.

Piwowar, H., Priem,J., Larivière, V., Alperin J.P. Matthias,L., Norlander,B., Farley, A., West, J., and Haustein, S. (2018). “The State of OA: A Large-Scale Analysis of the Prevalence and Impact of Open Access Articles.” PeerJ 6 (February): e4375.

Tickell, A. (2018). “Open Access to Research Publications 2018,” 68.

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