Article Processing Charges (APCs) are the fees charged to authors upon acceptance of their papers in gold (author pays) open-access journals, and authors are getting tired of paying these increasingly higher fees. This is called APC fatigue.
A recent letter to the editor appearing in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan documented the increasing APC fatigue that authors are feeling. The grass-roots letter documents the divide that APCs create between well-funded authors and those lacking sufficient funding.
The letter, written by physiology professor Sultan Ayoub Meo, is entitled, “Open Access Journals: Open for Rich, Closed for Poor.” In the letter he describes journals with high article processing charges and asks,
In many developing countries still, the monthly salary of a senior science faculty (Professor) in public sector institutes is less than $1000 / month. How is it possible the researchers from the developing countries can publish their papers in such journals?
I regularly receive emails from people all over the world asking me about how they might avoid article processing charges. Many publishers claim to waive the charges for low-income countries, but most open-access publishers are in business to make a profit, so there’s little incentive for them to waive or discount their onerous fees.
Here are two examples of emails I have received:
May I please have a list of journals that I can submit to. Because some of this high reputable journals like IEEE, Hindawi, Springe etc, their publication fees are too expensive. For a computer scientist
Makinde [surname redacted]
Our group has written a mini review with over 200 citations on the links between infections and cancer we are finding only a few free inexpensive places to publish. Most are expensive requesting up to 2 thousand an article. Is their a free credible open source we can submit for medical content. Thank you for your recommendation, we are new to publishing. I enjoyed your comments and information on the subject.
Dino [Surname redacted]
As seen in the image below, some publishers are no longer offering waivers:
Gold open-access is the predominant open-access model, and there are hundreds of for-profit publishers using this model, with more appearing almost daily. The evidence shown here indicates that scholarly authors are weary of paying APC and are starting to experience APC fatigue.
Also, because most gold open-access publishers are for-profit companies, their first concern is profit, and many are becoming reluctant to grant discounts and waivers on article processing charges.