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Scholarly Communication


The amount that publishers charge for gold Open Access varies considerably, from nothing to $5200. The charges can differ from what is stated on the publisher website as it depends on whether the institution has a membership or some other arrangement with a particular publisher which might provide a discount. In addition, some publishers offer individual members' discounts. 

Generally the range is between $2000-$3000, though there are a few very expensive journals such as Cell ($5000), The EMBO Journal ($5200) and Nature Communications (£3150). 

The average Open Access article processing charge the Open Access Service pays is ~£2100. This figure is an average across the entire University, although the bias is towards science and engineering journals. Elsevier have published their Open Access charges. Cambridge has made all the expenditure between 2009 and 2016 on Open Access available here.

The table below gives you an idea of the average journal charge per publisher and can help you make some estimates about how much you might need to budget for when completing grant applications. If you need more detailed information please email us

Note if you are funded by the Research Councils UK (RCUK) or Charities Open Access Fund (COAF) you do not need to apply for publishing costs in your grant application. A block grant is provided to the University and managed by the Open Access team. If you are a Cambridge researcher publishing an article resulting from research funded by the RCUK or COAF, then the Open Access Service can faciliate payment on your behalf. Simply submit your accepted manuscript

Publishers' Open Access article processing charges

Publisher APC from APC to Fully OA or Hybrid?
American Chemical Society $5000* $5000 Hybrid
BioMed Central $705 $2770 Open Access
Cambridge University Press $600 $2700 Hybrid
Elsevier $100 $5000 Hybrid
Hindawi $400 $2250 Open Access
MDPI CHF 150 CHF 1800 Open Access
Nature Publishing Group £890 £3,150 Hybrid
PLOS $1495 $2900 Open Access
SAGE $750 $3000 Hybrid
Springer $3000 $3000 Hybrid
Taylor & Francis $500 $2950 Open Access
Wiley $800 $5200 Hybrid

* Note that the University pays a heavily discounted price of $2000 because the University is a subscriber to ACS journals and many individuals are members of the Society.

Some publishers provide a list of their Article Processing Charges, for example MDPI's list of APCs

There is also a collated avergae of Article Processing Charges available on the OpenAPC website.