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Community Health & Epidemiology: Open Access - Info for Authors

Paying Article Processing Charges (APCs) for OA Fees (applies to USask authors)

Many open access (OA) journals do not charge fees, or will waive fees if the author is from a developing country or does not have funding. In addition, OA fees, also known as article processing charges (APCs), are generally an acceptable expense in grants - so you can budget for them in your grant application.

If you do need to pay APCs there are some other sources of help in paying fees:

Publications Fund from Research Services: Up to $1500. See this page for more details. 

  • In addition to the Publications Fund from Research Services, some colleges now also have their own Publications Funds. Faculty should check with their college.


Discounts or Waivers for Article Processing Charges (APCs) by publisher or journal:

  •  American Chemical Society (ACS): USask authors receive a $250 USD discount in OA APCs in ACS "AuthorChoice" journals (doesn't include ACS Omega). When completing your online payment form select "Apply Discounts" then search for and select "University of Saskatchewan" as your institution. The $250 discount should then be applied.
  • BioMed Central journals: The University Library pays a membership to SpringerOpen/BioMedCentral; USask authors receive a 15% discount on APCs. The discount is set up via IP recognition, so when you submit an article from a desktop computer on campus the discount gets deducted automatically. If you submit the article from home or any other IP address (often includes laptops on campus), then you would need to state manually (via a dropdown box) that you are affiliated with the USask. SpringerOpen/BioMedCentral staff would then proof the identity and affiliation and deduct the discount afterwards.
  • Cambridge University Press: USask authors are eligible for a 20% discount off OA APCs. The discount is automatically applied when the author submits their article to RightsLink and selects their institutional affiliation.   
  • Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press): USask authors publishing in NRC journals are eligible for a 50% APC discount on all journals except agricultural journals (Canadian Journal of Agricultural Science, Canadian Journal of Soil Science, Canadian Journal of Plant Science). Authors must state their institutional affiliation to qualify for this CRKN discount (CRKN is the national consortium through which the University Library subscribes to this journal package). Discount is applied upon submission of the manuscript.
  • Elsevier / ScienceDirect journals: USask corresponding authors receive a 20% discount on OA APCs from Jan 1 2021 - Dec 31, 2023 in all eligible Elsevier journals (Gold or hybrid). 
  • High Energy Physics journals: The University Library participates in the SCOAP3 initiative. Authors of high energy physics articles publishing in journals participating in SCOAP3 do not pay APCs, retain their copyright, and their articles are immediately open access. See this page for more details.
  • MDPI: USask authors receive a 10% discount in Article Processing Charges (APCs), book processing charges (BPCs), and Chapter Processing Charges (CPCs). Authors will be prompted during the last step of submission to determine if they are eligible for the discount (if submitting from within the USask campus IP range this should be automatically selected for authors).
  • PLOS Medicine & PLOS Biology: The University Library is now participating in the new PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) program. This means that USask corresponding authors will pay NO APCs for articles published in these two PLOS journals for 2021 - 2023! This discount should be automatically applied based on institutional affiliation selected during the submission process. If the corresponding author is not from USask, and is not at an institution participating in this CAP program, then a USask contributing author can qualify for a 25% APC discount. Please note that this program is only for PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology, NOT other PLOS journals.
  • SAGE Gold Open Access journals: USask authors publishing in gold open access (fully OA journals at time of publication) SAGE journals are eligible for a 40% discount per article on APCs. Authors must identify their institutional affiliation upon manuscript submission. See detailed instructions for authors in the documents linked to below. In the near future (early 2021?) this process will change and SAGE will notify eligible authors upon acceptance. Until then please continue to self-identify as USask authors to get the discount.
    • Note: there are some SAGE journals that are not included in this discount or that have special discounts. See list posted below or check with editors of your journal of interest. 
  • SAGE Choice journals (hybrid journals): USask corresponding authors of articles accepted in SAGE Choice (hybrid) journals will pay no fees! This is the result of the University Library entering into a "transformative OA agreement" (or "read and publish") with SAGE for 2021-2023. Eligible authors will be notified upon article acceptance. (Reminder: hybrid journals are conventional subscription journals that allow authors to make their individual article open access for a fee.) 
    • Note: Most of SAGE's 900+ journals participate in SAGE Choice, but there is a small list of titles that DO NOT (see the link below) 
  • SpringerOpen journals: The University Library pays a membership to SpringerOpen/BioMedCentral; USask authors receive a 15% discount on APCs. The discount is set up via IP recognition, so when you submit an article from a desktop computer on campus the discount gets deducted automatically. If you submit the article from home or any other IP address (often includes laptops on campus), then you would need to state manually (via a dropdown box) that you are affiliated with the USask. SpringerOpen/BioMedCentral staff would then proof the identity and affiliation and deduct the discount afterwards. NOTE: this discount does NOT apply to SpringerNature "OpenChoice" hybrid journals.
  • Taylor & Francis journals: We canceled our T&F journal package at the end of 2019, and resubscribed to some T&F journals individually. But since we do not have the complete package anymore we do NOT qualify for the APC discount for these journals as negotiated by CRKN.

Tools for Authors


RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles online and in open access repositories. Most publishers will permit you to post a copy of your article but usually restrict this to certain versions of the article, and may require you to wait a certain number of months before you post (i.e. the "embargo" period). RoMEO will tell you the policies of your journal.

More and more funding agencies are requiring recipients of their grants to provide open access to their research results. Does your funding agency require OA of your outputs? Find out by searching JULIET!

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a service that indexes high quality, peer reviewed open access research journals, periodicals and their articles' metadata. Journals must apply for inclusion in this quality controlled list. This is an excellent place to search for reputable open access journals in your discipline.

This is a set of copyright licenses and tools that provide creators with a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work.


CARL Canadian Author Addendum & Guide (PDF) - This guide will take you through the steps to using the addendum form to modify the publication agreement in order to retain more rights to your published work. Link to the addendum is in the guide.

The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will help you generate a PDF form that you can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights (you can select criteria).

You can also modify the publication agreement yourself to suit your unique requirements. 

Canadian Funders' Policies on OA

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

Grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication. Recipients can do this through one of the following routes:

  1. Online Repositories
  2. Journals

NSERC & SSHRC: This policy applies to all grants awarded May 1, 2015 and onward.

CIHR: This policy applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward. CIHR grant recipients have additional responsibilities to make their research data publicly available (see the link above for more details).

Routes to OA: Green vs Gold

Gold OA is publishing in an OA journal (or hybrid journal) and the article is immediately available OA. Sometimes there can be an article processing charge (APC) for this.

Green OA is publishing in a conventional journal and then self-archiving a copy in an open online repository. Often there can be an embargo on the article, so it is not immediately available OA.

Make your Research OA - Free & Legally!

The OA Citation Advantage

There is now considerable evidence that open access articles are more highly cited. This is known as the OA Citation Advantage.