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Open Access@HKUL: Article Processing Charges

What is Article Processing Charges (APC)

An Article Processing Charges (APC) is a fee paid to the publisher to make an article free at point of access. While open Access principles promote free availability of research and scholarly output, research papers are not cost free to produce. The cost of publication is moved from the reader (via subscriptions and pay-walls) to the author (via the APC). Note: if your funding body is paying the APC, they normally require the article to have a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution) license.

Adapted from Open Access Oxford Glossary – including the definitions of APCs and other main OA terminology from the Oxford Open Access Project.

OA Publishing for HKU Authors

OA Publishing for HKU Authors
The Office of Knowledge Exchange and the University Libraries have made agreements with the several publishers below, which allow HKU authors in some cases to publish in Open Access journals for free(!), and in other cases at a discount. Open Access can increase the readership of your articles, with a faster discovery rate, than can publishing articles behind a subscription wall. Increased readership can lead to increases in citations, offers of collaboration, etc. Please also explore the possibility of your grant funder paying the OA charges. The publishers:


The table below presents a summary of the publishers that offer APC discount to the HKU authors.

Publishers Journal Titles Covered APC Discount to HKU authors
Karger Journal List Unlimited free APC credit for one year (1st January to 31st December 2021)

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

  US$ 1,000
BioMed Central Journal List 15%
SpringerOpen Journal List 15%
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Journal List 10%
SCOAP3 Journal List No cost
Bentham Science Publishers Journal List 50%
Policy Press Journal List 20%


The HKU Libraries has signed an Open Access Agreement with the Karger Publisher. HKU authors can enjoy an unlimited free Article Processing Charge (APC) credit to all its Open Access Journals and Hybrid Journals with an OA option from 1st January to 31st December 2021.

Corresponding authors affiliated with University of Hong Kong are eligible for full coverage of APC and Authors ChoiceTM publication fee and all additional publication costs for articles published in full Open Access and hybrid journals (subscription journals with an Open Access option). To know how to submit your papers on Karger’s journals, click here.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)     

Because HKU Libraries have a paid subscription to this journal, the publishers will allow a discount on article processing charges (APC). After discount, the APC is US$ 1,000. Please make sure the corresponding author lists “University of Hong Kong” as the affiliation. Then, the system of PNAS can match it to HKU subscriber record and add the discount. The corresponding author should receive an estimate of publication charges. You are also encouraged to check for the discount so that PNAS can make any corrections if needed.

BioMed Central     

HKU has a Supporter Membership with BioMed Central. If the affiliation of the submitting author (author who uses the BMC online submission system) is HKU, then there will be a 15% discount. Therefore if you are one of the co-authors on a paper, please check with your other co-authors to determine which of their affiliations if any, have Supporter or Prepaid Memberships with BMC. Then the co-author of the affiliation with the most BMC discount could submit the article through BMC's online submission system. BMC writes,

When submitting a manuscript, either via a journal home page or via our online submission system, you will be identified as belonging to a member institution and automatically granted an article processing charge waiver if you are within your institution's firewall. If you are at home or at an external terminal when submitting your paper, you can still claim a waiver by starting your affiliation to your institution.


Because of the HKU Supporter Membership of BioMed Central (above), HKU authors (submitting author) may also claim a 15% discount in SpringerOpen journals. Submission process is the same as in BMC above.

Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)      

HKU Libraries is a member of the MDPI´s Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP). Under the IOAP scheme, HKU author can receive a 10% discount on the Article Processing Charges (APCs) for any papers published in an MDPI journal. Note that only one discount through an IOAP scheme is permitted per paper, and the discount cannot be combined with other available discounts, such as discount vouchers, and society membership discounts.


As HKU Libraries is one of the member libraries of JULAC (Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee), which is a partner of SCOAP3 - Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, HKU authors can publish in SCOAP3 journals at NO cost.

Bentham Science Publishers     

HKU is a member of Bentham OPEN, which allows a 50% discount for HKU corresponding authors, and any HKU co-author. To receive this 50% discount, authors must include this code in cover letters, when submitting manuscripts: BOMI-HKU/01.

Policy Press     

As a subscriber of Policy Press, HKU authors can enjoy a 20% APC discount on all Policy Press journals. Please quote the customer number (CU-0128046) when making enquiries about open access with Policy Press.

Directory of Open Access Journals     

There are many more OA journals, many with no OA charges. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 10,000+ journal titles, searchable by title, ISSN, and subject area.


Open Sage

The HKU Office of Knowledge Exchange has pre-paid article processing charges for 100 articles for HKU authors. The price to HKU authors wishing open access publishing in this journal is free. Submitting articles for this journal is done from this page.

On their submission page, in step 5, there is a box for “Pre-paid arrangemens”. In this box, the author doing the submission must enter a special CODE. To get this CODE, can you please write to and ask for it, while also giving the title of your intended article and names of any co-authors with their affiliations. Inputting this CODE does not guarantee article acceptance.

Please note that although the main author, the corresponding author, or even the person doing the article submission does not have HKU affiliation, if one of the co-authors has HKU affiliation, then that co-author must inform the person doing the article submission with the CODE, in order to receive this benefit.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

The HKU Office of Knowledge Exchange has paid for an institutional membership, HKU authors who are the corresponding authors, may publish in any Public Library of Science journal with a 10% discount. To receive this discount, you must claim, “The University of Hong Kong” from a pulldown screen in the online submission process.

Data and Scholarly Communication Librarian

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Jesse Xiao
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