How to Request for Journal Publishing Charge (APC) Discount or Waiver?

Journal APC Waiver Discount

In the realm of academic publishing, researchers encounter various challenges, from conducting groundbreaking research to effectively communicating their findings to the broader scientific community. One such challenge that often arises, particularly for scholars with limited funding, is the issue of article publishing charges (APCs).

APCs are fees charged by many journals to cover the costs of publishing an article, including peer review, editing, and distribution. While the shift towards open access has democratized access to research, APCs can present a significant barrier for authors, especially those from underrepresented regions or with constrained resources.

Please visit my article on Open Access Journals: What do you Need to Know as a Researcher? . This article clears your doubts regarding the functioning of open access journals.

Recognizing the importance of addressing this barrier, many journals offer APC discounts or waivers to alleviate the financial burden on authors. However, navigating the process of requesting these discounts or waivers can be daunting, with varying policies and requirements across different publishers.

In this blog post, we aim to demystify the process of requesting APC discounts or waivers, providing researchers with a step-by-step guide to advocate for themselves effectively. From understanding journal policies to negotiating with editors and exploring alternative funding sources, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate this aspect of academic publishing with confidence.

Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or a graduate student embarking on your publishing journey, understanding how to request APC discounts or waivers is essential for maximizing the impact of your research. Join us as we delve into this important topic and empower researchers worldwide to overcome the financial barriers to scholarly communication.


In the dynamic landscape of academic publishing, Article Publishing Charges (APCs) have emerged as a critical aspect shaping the dissemination of research findings. APCs are fees levied by scholarly journals to cover the costs associated with publishing an article, including editorial processes, peer review, and distribution. This financial model, often necessitated by the transition towards Open Access publishing, has profound implications for researchers worldwide.

APCs and their Impact on Researchers

Traditionally, the process of disseminating research involved subscription-based models, where readers paid to access journal content. However, the Open Access movement has advocated for unrestricted access to scholarly literature, aiming to accelerate the pace of discovery and democratize knowledge dissemination. While this shift aligns with the ethos of academic inquiry, it has led to the widespread adoption of APCs by many journals.

For researchers, APCs represent both an opportunity and a challenge. On one hand, Open Access publishing enhances the visibility and accessibility of their work, potentially increasing citations and impact. Conversely, APCs can pose a significant financial burden, particularly for scholars from resource-constrained institutions or regions. This disparity in access to publishing opportunities exacerbates existing inequities in the scholarly landscape, hindering the participation of underrepresented voices in academic discourse.

Understanding and Navigating APC Policies:

Given the impact of APCs on scholarly communication, it is essential for researchers to comprehend and navigate the policies surrounding these charges. Journals vary widely in their APC structures, including pricing models, eligibility criteria for discounts or waivers, and transparency in fee breakdowns. Understanding these policies empowers authors to make informed decisions about where to submit their work and how to manage publication costs effectively.

Moreover, navigating APC policies involves more than just financial considerations. It requires awareness of the broader implications for research dissemination, including issues of accessibility, equity, and scholarly impact. By engaging with APC policies proactively, researchers can advocate for fair and inclusive publishing practices, contributing to a more equitable scholarly ecosystem.

In the subsequent sections of this blog post, we will delve into practical strategies for researchers to navigate APC policies effectively. From identifying eligibility criteria for discounts or waivers to negotiating with journal editors and exploring alternative funding sources, we aim to equip researchers with the knowledge and tools to overcome the financial barriers to scholarly communication. Through informed action and collective advocacy, we can strive towards a publishing landscape that fosters equity, accessibility, and innovation in research dissemination.

Check Eligibility

Before submitting your manuscript to a journal, it’s crucial to assess whether you qualify for any APC discounts or waivers. Understanding the common eligibility criteria and how they apply to your situation can significantly impact your publishing decisions.

Common Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Low-Income Countries: Many publishers offer reduced or waived APCs for authors from low-income countries, as defined by organizations such as the World Bank. These initiatives aim to mitigate disparities in access to scholarly publishing opportunities and support researchers from underrepresented regions. Example: The Public Library of Science (PLOS) provides full or partial APC waivers for authors from low-income countries, as listed on their website. By leveraging this opportunity, researchers from these regions can disseminate their findings without financial barriers.
  2. Student Status: Some journals offer APC discounts for student authors, recognizing the financial constraints often faced by individuals pursuing higher education. These discounts may apply to undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students, providing them with opportunities to publish their research while managing academic expenses. Example: The Journal of Student Research offers discounted APCs for articles authored by undergraduate and graduate students. This initiative encourages student engagement in scholarly publishing and facilitates the dissemination of emerging research findings.
  3. Financial Need: In addition to predefined eligibility categories, some publishers consider individual financial circumstances when assessing requests for APC discounts or waivers. Authors facing financial hardships, such as limited institutional support or personal financial constraints, may be eligible for assistance on a case-by-case basis. Example: The Royal Society of Chemistry offers flexible APC pricing based on authors’ ability to pay, considering factors such as institutional affiliation, funding availability, and personal financial circumstances. This approach promotes inclusivity and ensures that researchers can publish their work irrespective of financial limitations.

Determining Eligibility Based on Personal Circumstances:

  1. Review Journal Policies: Start by reviewing the APC policies of the journals you’re considering for publication. Look for information on eligibility criteria, discount rates, and application procedures. This will help you identify potential opportunities for APC assistance.
  2. Assess Funding Status: Evaluate your institutional support and available research funding to determine your ability to cover APC costs. If you have limited funding resources, explore alternative avenues for APC assistance, such as institutional subsidies or external grants.
  3. Consider Individual Circumstances: Reflect on your personal financial situation and any factors that may impact your ability to pay APCs. If you believe you qualify for a discount or waiver based on financial need, be prepared to provide supporting documentation or explanations when submitting your manuscript.

By carefully assessing your eligibility for APC discounts or waivers and leveraging available resources, you can navigate the publishing process more effectively while minimizing financial barriers. In the next sections, we’ll explore strategies for requesting APC assistance and maximizing your chances of obtaining support from journal publishers.

Contact the Journal

Once you’ve determined your eligibility for APC discounts or waivers, the next step is to reach out to the journal’s editorial office or managing editor to initiate the request process. Here’s how you can effectively communicate with the journal and increase your chances of obtaining APC assistance:

Tips for Reaching Out to the Journal:

  1. Find the Right Contact: Identify the appropriate contact person or department responsible for handling APC-related inquiries. This information is often available on the journal’s website or in the submission guidelines. Addressing your inquiry to the correct recipient ensures a timely and relevant response.
  2. Be Concise and Specific: Craft a clear and concise message outlining your request for an APC discount or waiver. Provide essential details such as your manuscript title, corresponding author information, and the reason for requesting assistance. Avoid unnecessary details that could clutter your message and detract from the main purpose.
  3. Follow Instructions: Adhere to any specific instructions provided by the journal for requesting APC assistance. Some journals may require authors to complete a formal application or submit additional documentation to support their request. Failure to follow instructions could delay the processing of your request or result in rejection.
  4. Express Gratitude: Express appreciation for the journal’s consideration of your request and acknowledge the value of their contribution to scholarly publishing. A courteous and respectful tone demonstrates professionalism and enhances the likelihood of a positive response.

Template for Requesting an APC Discount or Waiver:

[Your Name]

[Your Affiliation]

[Your Email Address]


[Journal Name]

[Editorial Office/Managing Editor]

[Journal Address]

Dear [Editorial Office/Managing Editor],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to inquire about the possibility of obtaining a discount or waiver for the Article Publishing Charge (APC) associated with my forthcoming manuscript titled “[Manuscript Title].” [Provide a brief summary of your research topic and its significance.]

As an author from [mention your eligibility category, e.g., a low-income country/student/individual facing financial constraints], I am particularly interested in exploring opportunities for APC assistance to ensure the accessibility of my research findings. I have reviewed the journal’s APC policies and believe that I meet the eligibility criteria for [mention the specific discount or waiver category, if applicable].

I would greatly appreciate any information or guidance you can provide regarding the process for requesting APC assistance and the documentation required to support my request. Please let me know if there are any forms to complete or additional steps I need to take to facilitate this process.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to publish in [Journal Name] and look forward to your response.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Download the Template Here

Please enter your details to download the template.

Providing Clear and Polite Communication:

Effective communication is key when requesting APC discounts or waivers from journals. Here’s why clarity and politeness matter:

  1. Facilitates Understanding: Clear communication ensures that your message is understood by the recipient, reducing the likelihood of misinterpretation or confusion. Clearly state your request, provide relevant information, and follow any instructions provided by the journal.
  2. Enhances Professionalism: Politeness and professionalism are essential when interacting with journal editors or staff. A courteous tone demonstrates respect for their time and expertise, fostering positive rapport and increasing the likelihood of a favorable response to your request.
  3. Reflects Positively on You: Your communication style reflects your professionalism as a researcher and author. By presenting yourself in a clear, polite, and respectful manner, you enhance your credibility and reputation within the academic community.

By following these tips and utilizing the sample template provided, you can effectively communicate your request for APC assistance to journal editors or managing editors. Clear and polite communication increases the likelihood of a positive outcome and demonstrates your commitment to scholarly publishing ethics and etiquette.

Provide Documentation

When requesting an APC discount or waiver from a journal, you may be required to provide documentation to support your request. Here’s an explanation of the types of documentation that may be necessary and suggestions for preparing and submitting them:

Types of Documentation:

  1. Institutional Affiliation: Some journals may require documentation proving your institutional affiliation, such as a letter from your department or institution confirming your status as a faculty member, student, or researcher. This helps verify your eligibility for any institutional discounts or waivers offered by the journal. Example: You might provide a letter from your university’s research office or department chair confirming your affiliation and stating that you do not have access to sufficient funds to cover the APC.
  2. Funding Status: If you have received research funding that could potentially cover the APC, journals may ask for documentation of your funding status. This could include grant award letters, funding agency correspondence, or budget statements demonstrating the availability or lack thereof of funds for publication costs. Example: You could provide a copy of your grant award letter indicating that funds are not allocated for publication expenses, or a budget statement showing that your research budget does not cover APCs.
  3. Financial Need: In cases where you’re requesting an APC discount or waiver based on financial need, journals may ask for additional documentation to support your claim. This could include personal financial statements, tax returns, or other evidence of financial hardship. Example: You might provide a brief explanation of your financial situation, accompanied by relevant financial documents such as bank statements or tax returns showing limited income or resources.

Preparing and Submitting Necessary Documentation:

  1. Review Journal Guidelines: Carefully review the APC policies and submission guidelines provided by the journal to determine the specific documentation requirements for requesting discounts or waivers. Ensure that you understand what types of documentation are acceptable and how they should be submitted.
  2. Organize Your Documents: Gather all relevant documentation and organize it in a clear and concise manner. Label each document appropriately and ensure that it clearly supports your request for an APC discount or waiver.
  3. Follow Submission Instructions: Adhere to the journal’s instructions for submitting documentation, whether it’s through an online submission system, email, or postal mail. Pay attention to any formatting requirements or file size limitations to avoid delays or complications.
  4. Provide Context: Include a brief cover letter or statement explaining the purpose of the documentation you’re submitting and how it supports your request for APC assistance. This helps contextualize your submission for the journal’s editorial staff and facilitates the review process.

By carefully preparing and submitting the necessary documentation, you can strengthen your request for an APC discount or waiver and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Clear and well-organized documentation demonstrates your eligibility and commitment to transparent and ethical publishing practices, positioning you as a credible and responsible author.


Negotiating with journal editors can be a valuable strategy if your request for an APC discount or waiver is initially denied. Here’s how to effectively negotiate with editors, the importance of providing additional information or documentation if necessary, and examples of successful negotiation strategies:

How to Negotiate with Journal Editors?

  1. Remain Professional and Courteous: Approach the negotiation process with professionalism and respect for the editor’s decision-making authority. Maintain a polite and constructive tone throughout your communication, even if you’re disappointed with the initial response.
  2. Seek Clarification: If your request is denied, politely ask the editor for clarification on the reasons for the decision. Understanding the rationale behind the decision can help you identify areas where you can provide additional information or address any concerns raised by the editor.
  3. Highlight Your Contributions: Emphasize the value of your research and its potential impact on the journal’s readership and scholarly community. Highlight any unique contributions or novel findings that distinguish your work from others in the field.
  4. Propose Alternatives: If the journal is unable to offer a discount or waiver, consider proposing alternative solutions that could help alleviate the financial burden. This could include payment plans, installment options, or opportunities for in-kind contributions such as peer review services.

Providing Additional Information or Documentation if Necessary:

  1. Address Concerns: If the editor’s decision was based on specific concerns or eligibility criteria, provide additional information or documentation to address those concerns. This could include updated financial statements, clarification of your institutional affiliation, or evidence of the research’s significance.
  2. Demonstrate Eligibility: If your initial request lacked sufficient evidence of eligibility for an APC discount or waiver, provide additional documentation to support your claim. This could include letters of support from colleagues or mentors, documentation of your financial need, or evidence of your contributions to the research community.

Scenarios Demonstrating Successful Negotiation Strategies:

  1. Scenario 1: Addressing Funding Constraints: Suppose a journal initially denies your request for a waiver due to lack of evidence of financial need. In response, you provide a detailed explanation of your limited research funding, including budget allocations and funding agency policies that prohibit the use of grant funds for publication expenses. The journal reconsiders your request and grants a partial waiver to accommodate your financial constraints.
  2. Scenario 2: Highlighting Research Impact: Imagine your request for an APC discount is denied because the journal editors are unfamiliar with the significance of your research topic. In your follow-up communication, you provide additional context on the research’s potential impact, citing recent citations, media coverage, or endorsements from prominent scholars in the field. Impressed by your contributions, the editors offer a discounted APC rate to support the dissemination of your findings.

By effectively negotiating with journal editors and providing additional information or documentation as needed, you can increase the likelihood of obtaining an APC discount or waiver. Remember to approach the negotiation process with professionalism, persistence, and a focus on mutual benefit for both parties involved.

Explore Alternative Funding Sources

When APC discounts or waivers are unavailable or insufficient, exploring alternative funding sources can help cover publication costs. Here’s how you can find and access alternative funding:

Information on Alternative Funding Sources:

  1. Institutional Funds: Many academic institutions allocate funds to support open access publishing initiatives. These funds may be administered by libraries, research offices, or individual departments. Check with your institution’s library or research administration office to inquire about available funds and eligibility criteria. Example: Your university’s library might offer Open Access Publishing Funds to support APCs for faculty, researchers, and graduate students. These funds could cover all or part of the APC, depending on availability and demand.
  2. Grants: Research grants from funding agencies often include provisions for covering publication costs, including APCs. Review the terms and conditions of your grant award to determine if publication expenses are an allowable expense. If so, work with your grant administrator to allocate funds for APCs. Example: A research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may include a budget line item for publication costs, allowing you to use grant funds to cover APCs for articles reporting on funded research.
  3. Subsidies: Some organizations, consortia, or research societies offer subsidies or discounts on APCs for members or affiliated researchers. Explore membership benefits and partnership opportunities with relevant organizations to access discounted publishing rates. Example: A professional association in your field may negotiate discounted APC rates with specific journals on behalf of its members. By joining the association, you may be eligible for reduced APC fees when publishing in affiliated journals.

Guidance on How to Access and Apply for Alternative Funding:

  1. Research Funding Policies: Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures governing alternative funding sources, including eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadlines. Ensure that your publication plans align with the funding guidelines to maximize your chances of success.
  2. Submit Funding Requests: Once you’ve identified suitable funding sources, submit funding requests or applications according to the specified procedures. Provide all required documentation, including invoices or acceptance letters from journals, to support your request for APC funding.
  3. Follow Up: After submitting your funding request, follow up with the relevant administrative offices or funding agencies to track the status of your application. Be prepared to provide additional information or address any questions or concerns raised during the review process.
  4. Explore Multiple Avenues: Cast a wide net when exploring alternative funding sources, as multiple avenues may exist within your institution, discipline, or professional network. Don’t limit yourself to one source; consider leveraging a combination of grants, institutional funds, and subsidies to cover APCs effectively.

By proactively seeking out alternative funding sources and navigating the application process strategically, you can secure the financial support needed to cover APCs and ensure the open access dissemination of your research findings. Remember to plan ahead, adhere to funding guidelines, and explore all available options to maximize your funding opportunities.

Consider Open Access Funds

Open Access Funds are resources provided by institutions, funding agencies, or consortia to support researchers in covering the costs associated with publishing open access articles, including APCs. Here’s how you can understand and access Open Access Funds:

Open Access Funds and Their Availability:

  1. Institutional Funds: Many academic institutions allocate funds specifically for supporting open access publishing initiatives. These funds may be managed by libraries, research offices, or other administrative units within the institution. The purpose of these funds is to promote the dissemination of scholarly research by removing financial barriers to open access publishing. Example: Your university’s library may administer an Open Access Fund that provides financial assistance to faculty, researchers, and graduate students for covering APCs. These funds may be available on a first-come, first-served basis or allocated through a competitive application process.
  2. Funding Agencies: Some funding agencies include provisions for covering publication costs, including APCs, as part of their grant awards. These funds are intended to support the dissemination of research findings funded by the agency and promote open access to publicly funded research. Example: The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program requires grant recipients to ensure open access to peer-reviewed publications resulting from funded research. Grant funds can be used to cover APCs for articles published in compliant open access journals or platforms.

Suggestions for Accessing Open Access Funds to Cover APCs:

  1. Review Funding Policies: Familiarize yourself with the policies and guidelines governing Open Access Funds available through your institution or funding agency. Pay attention to eligibility criteria, application procedures, and any restrictions on the use of funds.
  2. Submit Funding Requests: Once you’ve identified relevant Open Access Funds, submit a funding request or application according to the specified procedures. Provide all necessary documentation, including invoices or acceptance letters from journals, to support your request for APC funding. Example: If your institution offers an Open Access Fund, you may need to submit an application form along with details of your publication, including the journal name, article title, and estimated APC amount. Provide justification for why funding support is needed and how the publication aligns with the fund’s objectives.
  3. Follow Up: After submitting your funding request, follow up with the administrative office or funding agency to track the status of your application. Be prepared to provide additional information or address any questions or concerns raised during the review process.
  4. Explore Collaboration: In some cases, collaborating with colleagues or co-authors who have access to Open Access Funds may provide an opportunity to share publication costs and leverage available resources more effectively. Consider pooling funds or exploring joint funding options to cover APCs for collaborative research projects.

By leveraging Open Access Funds available through institutions or funding agencies, researchers can overcome financial barriers to open access publishing and ensure the widespread dissemination of their research findings. Be proactive in seeking out and accessing available funds, and ensure compliance with funding guidelines to maximize your chances of securing financial support for APCs.

  1. PLoS (Public Library of Science): PLoS offers fee waivers for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for waivers or discounts based on financial need. They also have a fee assistance program for authors who are unable to pay the full APC.
  2. BMJ Open: BMJ Open offers fee waivers for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for waivers or discounts based on financial need or other circumstances.
  3. Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM): JEM offers fee waivers for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for discounts or waivers based on financial need or other factors.
  4. eLife: eLife provides fee waivers or discounts for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for assistance based on financial need.
  5. Journal of Cell Biology (JCB): JCB offers fee waivers for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for discounts or waivers based on financial need or other circumstances.
  6. Nature Communications: Nature Communications may offer fee waivers or discounts on a case-by-case basis, depending on various factors such as financial need, institutional affiliation, or research topic.
  7. Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC): JBC offers fee waivers for authors from low-income countries and may consider requests for discounts or waivers based on financial need or other factors.
  8. OA publication funds : This is a list of funds to support OA journals, books, and other kinds of publication. The funds may be hosted by universities, research centers, foundations, or government agencies.
  9. Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity: The compact for open-access publishing equity aims to promote fairness in business models by requiring every university to promptly establish sustainable mechanisms to cover reasonable publication fees for articles authored by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals, where funding from other institutions is not anticipated.

Please note that fee waiver policies may change over time, so it’s essential to check the current policies and guidelines of each journal before submitting your manuscript. Additionally, eligibility criteria and application procedures may vary, so be sure to review the specific requirements for fee waivers or discounts on each journal’s website.


In the fast-paced world of academic publishing, where innovation and knowledge dissemination thrive, it’s essential to address the financial barriers that researchers often face. Throughout this discussion, we’ve explored strategies for navigating Article Publishing Charges (APCs) and accessing fee waivers or discounts, ensuring that scholarly communication remains accessible to all.

By understanding and navigating APC policies, researchers can make informed decisions about where to publish their work and how to manage publication costs effectively. Whether it’s exploring alternative funding sources, negotiating with journal editors, or leveraging Open Access Funds, there are numerous avenues available to support authors in covering APCs and promoting open access to research findings.

However, achieving accessible publishing goes beyond individual efforts—it requires collective action and advocacy within the scholarly community. Publishers, funding agencies, and institutions play a crucial role in fostering inclusive publishing practices and providing support to authors from diverse backgrounds.

As we move forward, let us continue to champion equity and accessibility in scholarly publishing, ensuring that research findings are disseminated widely and impactfully. By empowering researchers with the resources and knowledge needed to navigate APCs, we can pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive scholarly ecosystem.

Together, let us strive to break down financial barriers, amplify diverse voices, and advance the frontiers of knowledge through accessible publishing practices. Thank you for joining us on this journey towards a more inclusive and accessible future for academic publishing.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]