Publishers do not expect authors to pay for APC out of their own pocket, and usually try to inform authors about all the possible sources of funding that they can use to cover the cost. This blog post is one such try.
So you have decided to submit your paper to an open access journal, probably because of its excellent quality, relevant scope, and since you expect that thanks to the openness, your work will have a broader impact and gain more citations. Now it is time to think a little bit about money. Who will cover the cost of your publication and how? The majority of open access journals are at this time free for both authors and readers (because the cost of publishing is covered by the association who owns the journal, or by a commercial publisher who is not in a hurry to introduce fees), however it is not uncommon to charge Article Processing Charges (APCs). APC is kind of fee, which has to be covered to publish an article in a journal. It covers the cost of publishing (the work of editors, marketing, etc.), thus it allows the publisher to make the article free for readers. The assumption is that APCs are paid by the very same institutions that pay traditional subscriptions: universities and research institutions. APCs are just a different form of money transfer, that make professional academic publishing possible.
Publishers do not expect authors to pay for it from their own pocket, and usually try to inform authors about all the possible sources of funding that they can use to cover APC. This blog post is one example of such a try.
Getting to the point, if you have decided to publish a paper in an open access journal, check whether it charge fees. It should be clearly stated on the journal website (attention: keep in mind that the same publisher may use different business model for different journals, so some of them may charge APCs, while others not). Journal records in DOAJ also include information about fees. When you find that the journal of your choice charges for publication, do not panic. There are several ways to get the APC covered.
1) Check out the fee waiver policy. The majority of publishers (including De Gruyter Open) waive fees for authors based in so-called low-income countries. Some also have additional waivers.
2) If you are not subject to a waiver, then ask your librarian if the institution you are working at has an open access fund.
3) Check out the budget of the project you are working on. Many grant funders cover APCs, and some of them even require publishing an article in open access, so there is a possibility that the cost of APC has been already included in your grant. If it is not, remember to include it in the budget of your next project.
4) Determine what is the open access policy in your country at a national level. In some countries, central funding institutions cover the costs of open access publishing for all articles written by their researchers. Thus, visit the website of the central funding institutions in your country or ask your colleagues.
5) Check out the “Funding” tag on this blog. I have described there several funding institutions to which you can apply with your next research proposal. These institutions cover the costs of article processing charges and can pay for the APC for your next open access paper.
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