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APCs – Timeline

- May 18, 2015 in PASTEUR4OA, Projects

For the PASTEUR4OA Project Open Knowledge are contributing to a series of advocacy papers. To compliment the one on Open Access to Research Data we are writing one on APCs. Article Processing Charges (APCs) are the fees scholarly publishers charge authors of academic papers. APCs are used in both Open Access journals and in closed journals.

Image CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

Image CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

Some of you may have seen our Open Access to Research Data Timeline. We now have an APCs timeline we’d appreciate feedback on. Again this timeline builds on Peter Suber’s Open Access timeline – but other important events and papers have been tricky to find.




  • Half of all science articles written by U.S. authors required some form of author payment – King, Donald W., Dennis D. McDonald, and Nancy K. Roderer. Scientific Journals in the United States: Their Production, Use, and Economics. 1981. Stroudsburg, PA: Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company (a division of Academic Press). Most common requirement was page charges. From Should Commercial Publishers Be Included in The Model for Open Access through Author Payment?


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) guide allowed payment of page charges from research grants to both
    profit and not-for-profit organizations.



  • BioMed Central started charging processing fees to cover the costs of free online access.


  • Public Library of Science (PLOS) launch the journals PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine with APCs.
  • Introduction of article-processing charges (APCs) for articles accepted for publication in the Journal of Translational Medicine. []



  • Biomed Central deals with angry editors re APCs.
  • The European Parliament reached a compromise on the INSPIRE Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe). Geospatial data “designed for the general public” will “generally” be open access although government agencies may charge cost-recovery fees “for access to data that has to be updated frequently, such as weather reports”. The directive takes effect in the summer of 2007.
  • 2012