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Author Tips for HKUST Scholars

Thinking of publishing? Need some helpful tips? See this guide for some answers!

Article Processing Charges (APCs) - What & Why

Article processing charges (APCs) are fees that publishers charge authors to help finance a journal.

Lately, publishers have used them to make their publications available via Open Access (OA), the practice to make scholarly literature freely accessible online. Two major routes to make your work OA are either through "Gold OA" in a hybrid (mix of OA and subscription fee) or through a complete OA journal.

  • Gold - Your work is immediately accessible at the publisher’s website after publication.
    • Readers do not require a subscription to read an article.
    • Available on a completely OA journal, or a "hybrid" (where some articles are behind paywall & some available via OA).
    • Often you have to pay a fee, called APC, to the publisher to make this happen.
  • Green - Your work is made available NOT on the publishers website.
    • An earlier version is made available.
    • Often accessed via an Institutional Repository, a subject repository, or the author's own site.

  The Plan S Coalition sees it as a way forward, through "transformative agreements".  More info at

APCs - How Much & Who Pays?

How much do APCs cost?

It varies from publisher to publisher, and journal to journal. There is a wide range, and overall they are not small sums. Some examples (as of April 2019):

  • Chemical Physics Letters X, Elsevier: USD3,050
  • European Journal of Remote Sensing, Taylor & Francis: USD700
  • Nature Communications, USD5,200
  • Journal of Optics, IOP, USD2,700

The pricing mechanism isn't transparent.

  • Publishers may offer discounts or waivers for researchers in certain countries.
  • Some journals are fully OA (all papers are OA, no subscription required).
  • Some are hybrid (the journals still charge subscription, but some papers are OA if the authors pay APC).
  • But there's no obvious relation between APC cost and  whether a journal is full OA or hybrid.

Do I have to pay?

It depends. APC is optional with a hybrid journal. If you choose not to pay, your paper will still be published in that journal, but behind paywall, i.e. only subscribers can read.

Is a hybrid journal charging both the authors and readers then?

Yes, they are. Often this charging model is criticized as double-dipping. Although some publishers claim they offset the subscription costs with the amount of APC they receive, it is hardly clear how they do it. With the business model of academic publishing, transparency is always a big issue.

If I opt for gold OA, who pays for my APC?

In the US and Europe, some universities and funding agencies allow research grants to cover APC. In Hong Kong, RGC requires the Project Coordinator (PC) or Principal Investigator (PI) to make the final publications openly accessible immediately or no later than 12 months after publication, but there is no guideline on APC.

HKUST Support for APCs

Apart from charging APC, some publishers make agreements with libraries to support affiliated authors to publish OA. Check list of OA Publishing Agreements made by HKUST Library. These agreements allow HKUST authors to publish in selected journals with APC waived or discounted.

To take advantage of this privilege, make sure you submit papers using your HKUST email account and list HKUST as your affiliation.

Limited APC quota

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) | Springer Nature | Wiley

Unlimited APC quota

American Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) | American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) | Cambridge University Press (CUP) | Company of Biologists | IOP Publishing | Microbiology Society | Rockefeller University Press | Royal Society | SCOAP3

Publisher Period Journals Guides
Limited APC quota

The Royal Society of Chemistry

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)


Springer Nature


File:Wiley logo.svg - Wikipedia


  • Guide for authors at eligible JULAC institutions
  • Guide to publishing in a Wiley hybrid journal
  • Guide to publishing in a Wiley fully open access journal
  • Guide to submitting a manuscript to a Hindawi fully open access journal
  • Author Workshop Recording | Slides
Unlimited APC quota

American Institute of Mathematical Sciences (@AIM_Sciences) / Twitter

American Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

  • When submitting your manuscript:
    • Ensure that you are the corresponding author
    • List HKUST as your affiliation
    • Use your HKUST email account
  • When replying to the galley proof message sent from the AIMS Production Editor or Production Specialist, notify AIMS that you want your article to be published open access.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers - Wikipedia

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)


Cambridge University Press (CUP)


The Company of Biologists

Company of Biologists


IOP-Publishing-Logo-CMYK – Physics World

IOP Publishing


Microbiology Society


Rockefeller University Press - Accucoms

Rockefeller University Press


The Royal Society -

Royal Society



SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics)

  • Submission process is detailed in each journal’s “Author guidelines” section on the SCOAP3 journals page
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