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  4. Article Processing Charges (APCs) and offsetting deals

Article Processing Charges (APCs) and offsetting deals

Article Processing Charges (APCs)

Article Processing Charges (APCs) have become the dominant funding model for Open Access (OA) publishing, especially amongst commercial publishers. In this model the author (or their surrogate) pays the publisher a fee to get their article published OA. APCs vary in amount, from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, and the most prestigious journals will frequently be the most expensive. Hybrid journals tend to have more expensive APCs than pure OA journals, and some pure OA journals do not charge an APC, rather they will be funded by individual institutions or membership models.

The only dedicated funds for APCs at The Open University is in the form of the UKRI/RCUK block grant, there is no central provision for APCs other than for articles from UKRI/RCUK funding. For how to access the UKRI/RCUK block grant please go to the UKRI/RCUK block grant page.

Offsetting deals

Due to various institutional subscriptions we have with academic publishers, several offsetting deals (also known as Transformative Agreements, or Read and Publish deals) are now available to OU researchers who wish to publish Gold OA (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read and download on the publisher website). Offsetting deals are paid for from Library budgets and allow OU affiliated authors to publish Open Access at no cost to them or at a reduced cost (see individual deals for details). These are exploratory models in the shift from pay-to-read (the journal subscription) to pay-to-publish, so are likely to change at short notice. Please check this page for updates. Please note that for any discounts listed below authors are responsible for sourcing the remainder of the publishing fee themselves; this may be through research grants, the UKRI Block Grant, or faculty budgets (where available).

The following deals are open to all current OU-affiliated research staff and postgraduate research students (excludes visiting researchers), though individual deals may specify that you must be the corresponding author in order to be eligible (please see eligibility details for individual deals listed below). Please note that the OU has a preference for outputs to be published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license (typically the default license applied by the publisher). Publishing under this license has many benefits in terms of increasing the impact of your work and maximising possibilities for re-use. The following short video explains more:


From 1 January 2021, there is no APC charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing research and review articles Open Access in any of Brill's jounals (including Gold titles). To benefit from this deal submit your article to your journal contact at Brill with a request to publish Open Access and indicate that you are an author from one of the eligible institutions in the UK. If you submit your article through Editorial Manager, you will be asked during the submission process whether you are eligible for the agreement.

For questions on Open Access publishing at Brill please contact​

Cambridge University Press

There is no APC charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors to publish Open Access in eligible Gold or hybrid journals from Cambridge University Press from 1 January 2021. Eligible articles: Research, Review Articles and Rapid Communications (RRR), Plus Brief Report and Case Report article types, which are often linked to research articles. To benefit from this deal you should submit your research using your institutional affiliation (and ideally an ORCID ID), and follow the steps for how to publish OA under this deal, linked to below:

Company of Biologists

There is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing research articles and research reports in three Company of Biologist journal titles: Development, Journal of Cell Science, and Journal of Experimental Biology. To benefit from this deal you must submit your article using the online submission system for your chosen journal title, and follow the steps in the Guide for Authors linked to below:


Equinox offer a 20% discount on APC payments for OU affiliated corresponding authors.

Future Science Group

From 1 January 2021 there is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding and contributing authors publishing Open Access in any of Future Science Groups' 20 hybrid or 15 fully Open Access (Gold) titles, for any article type. Articles will be published under a CC BY license. To benefit from this deal you must list your OU affiliation in the online submission system and complete an Open Access form (see author guidance linked to below). Please note this deal does not cover addtional charges for optional extras such as accelerated publication or colour printing.

Geological Society - Lyell Collection

From 1 January 2021 there is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing any article type Open Access in six Geological Society hybrid journals and three hybrid book series. The six hybrid journal titles included are: Journal of the Geological Society, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, Petroleum Geoscience, Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis, Scottish Journal of Geology, and Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society. Corresponding authors must use their institutional email address in order to be identified as eligible. Articles will be published under a CC BY license. 

ICE Thomas Telford

ICE Thomas Telford offer a 15% APC discount for Current Engineering collection subscribers, which will apply for OU affiliated corresponding authors. 

Institute of Physics

There is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in any Institute of Physics Publishing's (IOPP) hybrid journal titles and selected partner journals. This deal applies to all primary research article types as well as reviews: Letters, Papers, Reviews and Special Issue articles. IOPP will identify all qualifying articles and publish them by default on an Open Access basis.  Please note, this deal does not cover page charges, which are levied by some partner journals. Corresponding authors must clearly state their OU affiliation on the article submission form and in the article itself during submission in order for eligibility to be identified.


MDPI offer a 10% APC discount for OU affiliated authors (must use institutional email address to verify eligibility). The discount applies to journal articles and book processing charges. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount (e.g. discount vouchers, or society membership discounts).

Oxford University Press

From 1 January 2021 there is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing Research and Review articles in 400+ fully OA and hybrid journals under open access licenses. This deal applies to all OUP titles in the OUP Full Collection. Eligible authors will be identified by OUP during the article submission process, but you must use your institutional email address during the submission process to be identified as eligible. We strongly recommend that you contact us to check eligibility before choosing an Open Access license, as you may be liable for the fee if it is not eligible under this agreement.

Please note this deal does not cover page or colour charges (where these apply) so please check before submission if such charges apply, as the author will be responsible for funding these extra costs.


From 1 January 2021 there is no charge for OU affiliated authors publishing in any PLOS journal titles, including the three new megajournals PLOS Climate, Water and Global Public Health. For PLOS Biology,  Medicine and Sustainability & Transformation this deal applies to all corresponding and contributing authors, and for the remaining six titles (which are covered under a different Flat Fee agreement: PLOS Computational Biology, Pathogens, Genetics, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Digital Health and PLOS One) this is restricted to corresponding authors only. This deal applies to all article types. New journals launched during the term of the agreement will be automatically included in the agreement.

Policy Press

Policy Press offer a 20% discount on APCs for OU authors, as the OU currently subscribes to their online content. They also offer 10% off open access book APCs.

Portland Press

From January 2021 there is no article processing charge (APC) for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in all seven Portland Press journals: Biochemical Journal; Clinical Science; Neuronal Signalling; Bioscience Reports; Biochemical Society Transactions; Essays in Biochemistry; and Emerging Topics in Life Sciences. Articles submitted to any of the seven Portland Press journals will be checked and corresponding authors will be automatically notified of their article's eligibility under this deal to confirm that the manuscript will be published open access.

Rockefeller University Press

There is no charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in RUP's three hyrbid journals: Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), and Journal of General Physiology (JGP). 

Royal Society

From 1 January 2021 there is no charge for OU affiliated authors publishing any article type Open Access in any of the Royal Society's eight hybrid and two fully Open Access (Gold) journal titles. Articles are published under a CC BY license. Corresponding authors must use their institutional email address in order to be identified as eligible.

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

OU affiliated corresponding authors can publish Open Access at no charge in all hybrid RSC journal titles. This deal does not apply to RSC's fully Open Access (Gold) titles Chemical Science, RSC Advances, Nanoscale Advances, RSC Chemical Biology, and Materials Advances or Chemistry Education Research and Practice (CERP) (though RSC are currently waiving APC charges for most of these titles too). To benefit from this deal, double check that you are listed as the corresponding author in the online submission system and on your manuscript; use your official institutional email address to submit your manuscript; and ensure you state your institutional affiliation in your manuscript. Do not sign the standard license to publish - upon acceptance of your manuscript, you will be able to choose and sign the CC BY or CC BY-NC open access license (but remember, the OU has a preference for CC BY).


Our agreement with SAGE means that OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in SAGE Choice (hybrid OA) journals can now publish Gold at no charge to the author. Eligible authors will be contacted directly to ask if they would like to benefit from this deal, so you do not need to take any action. All articles published on or before 1st January 2020 are eligible, so authors may receive emails from SAGE asking if they would like to retrospectively make previously published articles Gold OA at no extra cost. You'll need to be quick, authors have 5 days from the date of the email to confirm if they would like to publish Gold. All 'article-type' outputs are included in the agreement(book reviews are excluded).

They also offer a 20% discount off list price to publish in licensed SAGE wholly Gold OA journals. The 20% discount can be obtained by quoting code JISC2020 in the RightsLink portal. For Open Access Journals where RightsLink portal is not used, the corresponding author must contact to request the discount. If the corresponding author does not request the discount via the code, they may request an amended invoice by contacting SAGE's Open Access customer service team prior to payment being made ( 

Springer Nature

OU researchers publishing in Springer can get articles published Gold at no extra charge. To be eligible you need to be:

  • publishing in a Springer Open Choice journal i.e. a Springer hybrid journal AND
  • the corresponding author AND
  • affiliated to the OU AND
  • publishing either an original paper, review paper, brief communication or continuing education (Springer terminology)

This deal is in place until 31st December 2021.

Taylor & Francis

From 1st January 2021, there is no APC charge for OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing original research articles in Taylor & Francis and Routledge hybrid (Open Select) journals. This replaces the previous 75% discount on APCs.

You don't need to do anything to benefit from this deal. All accepted research meeting these requirements will automatically be considered for open access publication under this agreement. This deal covers original research articles only. Other types of paper, such as Editorials, Announcements and Book Reviews are not covered. Please be aware that there is a cap on the number of publications that are covered by this deal, so it is operated on a first come, first served basis. If this cap is reached before the end of the year, the open access publishing element of this agreement will be paused until the beginning of the following year. 


OU researchers publishing original research and review articles in Wiley's hybrid (OnlineOpen) or fully Open Access (Gold) journals can get published Open Access at no charge. To benefit from this deal you need to be the corresponding author, and must indicate your affiliation with the OU's Wiley Open Access Account in the payment question during manuscript submission. Authors will need to search for and select the Open University in order to retrieve the Account Code. Please ensure you also enter your funder's details.  Please note that the Wiley Open Access Account cannot be used to cover additional charges (e.g. cover, colour and page charges). There is a cap on the number of publications that are covered by this deal, so it is operated on a first come, first served basis.

Update on Wiley agreement: The 2021 fund has been drawn down more quickly than initially projected. From 1st July 2021, restrictions will need to be introduced to limit OA publishing to UKRI/Wellcome (and previous COAF member) funded outputs until the article allowance renews on 1st January 2022, to ensure that the fund will cover all UKRI/Wellcome funded articles throughout 2021.

From 1st July - 31st December 2021, authors without UKRI/Wellcome funding will instead be entitled to a 25% discount, but authors will need to source the remaining funds themselves if they want to publish open access. For gold journals, authors need to select ‘UK/Jisc authors (25% discount)’ from the drop-down menu. For hybrid journals authors will need to add the discount promo code:  KA6CA.

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