Sharing the results of publicly funded research

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




  • 14 responses to “APCs – Timeline”

    1. Publishers’ initiatives to set up hybrid and OA-only journals to cope with APCs should be covered, too.

      • Marieke Guy says:

        Thanks Alexander – any ideas where I might find a collated list of publisher initiatives? We’ve cited a few APC policies in the briefing paper but can’t find a list of all of these.

    2. […] Sharing the results of publicly funded research  […]

    3. Stuart Lawson says:

      The introduction to this article might be useful for background:

      Also, over the last year, article-level details over 10,000 APCs paid by UK higher education institutions have been made available on figshare:

    4. Marieke Guy says:

      Thanks Stuart – this is perfect! I take it the associated journal article isn’t live yet – might want to reference in the briefing paper.

    5. “The dramatic growth of BioMedCentral open access article processing charges”

    6. Marieke Guy says:

      Thanks – I’m adding them in – the timeline looks much fuller now!

    7. Hi, the original work about article pay charge at APS is Tom Scheiding´s paper. Please cite him. Thanks

    8. Very nice summary Marieke. Wondering if you plan to cover 2015 as well (lots of stuff going on at the moment of course). I’d suggest including the recently released Max Planck Digital Library study on journal transition at There are also many cross-institutional APC monitoring initiatives happening, the most important of which are probably the Jisc Monitor in the UK, and this Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges (ESAC) in Germany, It’d also be nice to have the EC/OpenAIRE Gold Open Access Pilot in there,, as it means the arrival of a large funder (the Commission) aiming to cover a very fragmented funding landscape re APCs across countries.

    9. Kai says:

      Thank you for this interesting timeline.
      You may also add the german OpenAPC Initiative at
      which is a very comprehensive cross institutional data source.

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