Oct 11, 2021
Androniki Pavlidou

Unveiling the stellar lineup of the @OpenScienceFAIR keynote speakers! #OSFAIR2023 returns to its vibrant face-to-face format this autumn in Madrid. The call for proposals is still running so don’t miss the chance to present your work and join a lively, buzzing fair! The deadline……

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OpenAPC: Answering the dilemma of Open Access Costs

Oct 11, 2021

Research intensive organizations like universities, research centers and research institutions, that need to manage their funds and expenses, while at the same time, offer high quality research, showcase their outcomes via publications. Shall the publications be open access or not? How much does it cost, and does this affect the organization’s budget so it can impact its publishing policy? Even if the publications are open access, there are some fees that universities pay for the processing of the publications. Some of the fears of such organizations are that they might pay too much for open access publications or having no control or monitor on how much they spent on this so that they can align their strategy. At this point, APC is important for universities and more research intensive organisations. 

What does APC stand for?

Article Processing Charges refers to the money that authors usually need to pay to open access publishers to process their papers (including editing, peer review, hosting, archiving, preservation). This is mostly completed via a funder like a university. 

What is the OpenAPC service?

OpenAPC is an OpenAIRE-Nexus service that collects information from organizations like universities and provides them detailed information on the publishing costs of an article or book (APC and BPC). The service is also available, through OpenAIRE-Nexus, to EOSC. OpenAPC, was launched in Germany, at the Bielefeld University Library, in 2014 as an initiative to provide cost transparency in open access publishing, and is now supported by over 300 data-contributing institutions worldwide and its number continues to grow. 

Why is it important to use OpenAPC?

OpenAPC offers to funders and research intensive organizations an automatic aggregation of costs regarding open access publications appointed to them. Research funders often need to view reports that show independent information about the prices and costs in the Open Access publication market. The information is stored on an Open Database with the accompanied license and is openly accessible, transparent and at the same time trustable. OpenAPC users can view cost trends and get an overview over time.

How does OpenAPC satisfy its users' needs?

It provides data aggregation, enrichment and normalization techniques, making the reporting interoperable and automatic. It also offers access to the service via an API, for live analyses. Abolishes complexity, by providing results in common data format and delivery making them easily comprehensive through visualizations. Furthermore, it produces raw data that can be downloadable on GitHub so that its users can utilize and analyze their results by using more tools and methods.

Why use OpenAPC?

It helps authors, funders and libraries to make rational decisions on where to publish, how much it costs, and along with a combination of OpenAIRE services, can provide indicators and impact measures, like Return on Investment. Offers a cost transparent and empirical evident way to calculate average costs for Open Access publishing. Therefore, a university administration is able to view statistical information on the journals and Open Access publishers used, and compare the costs. Any missing information can be spotted as any loss of quality of data will be visible from inconsistencies that may arise. OpenAPC users experience all the FAIR principles, since all the information can be easily reproduced and visualized on any website for public or internal for reporting use. 

Which OpenAIRE services use OpenAPC?

OpenAPC data is fully embedded in the OpenAIRE Research Graph and we use it in constructing open science indicators in our MONITOR Dashboard (for funders and institutions) and in the Open Science Observatory portal (to appear in fall 2021).

Where can someone view all OpenAPC organizations that use it?

OpenAPC shares its list of all users open to all. You can find more information on the DFG funding programme on Open Access Publishing report. Once you visit the OpenAPC service page, you can navigate through the Treemaps (visualizations) of the organization of your interest.

Universities recently joining OpenAPC

OpenAPC is welcoming the latest three universities that trusted it to monitor and visualize their costs on Open Access publishing. These are: 

All universities have received feedback on their “cost data” and overviews about “Fees paid per publisher”, “Average costs per year”, and “Average costs per publisher”.


Want to join? Contact us.


The figures below are showing the APC results of Thomas Jefferson University.


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OpenAIRE has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreements No. 777541 and 101017452 (see all).

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