Definitions and Q&A

What does APC mean?

APC is the acronym for Article Processing Charges (sometimes also Article Publication Charges), i.e. the cost that a publisher will charge for an article to be edited and distributed freely (in Open Access).

This applies to both fully Open Access, or hybrid journals.

Some Gold Open Access journals may not require APC for publication of articles. These are known as a diamond/platinum journals.

How much are the APCs?

Publication fees vary from one journal to another and from one discipline to another. They can rise to CHF 6'000.- or more for some publishers or very prestigious journals, but the average price varies between CHF 1000.- and CHF 2000.-

What does BPC mean?

BPC stands for Book Processing Charges. It is the publication fee that a publisher will charge for a book to be freely distributed (in Open Access).

By analogy, there are also BCPCs (Book Chapter Processing Charges) for book chapters.

How much are BPC?

The costs of publishing books are much higher than for articles, in the order of several tens of thousands of francs.

Who pays for the APC / BPC?

In general, the corresponding author of an article is responsible for finding out about the funding options for their article and making the appropriate choice for their situation and publication. This person can turn to their institution for advice, but also to apply for coverage of these costs or to resort to research funds, which is allowed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for example.

The following flowchart (available as a PDF file) illustrates the various options available:


Agreements with publishers Chronoshub UNIGE OA Policy Rights Retention Strategy Sherpa Romeo Archive ouverte UNIGE Publication fund APC AAM Licence CC BY How to fund an article decision tree


What is the University of Geneva doing?

The University is working on several fronts to facilitate and support the publication costs of researchers' articles:

  • Publication Fund: Since 2018, a pilot fund of CHF 50,000 per year has been made available by the Rectorate to cover part of the publication costs, under certain conditions. The rules of attribution and the application form are available on this website.
  • Agreements with Publishers: each year, agreements are negotiated with publishers in order to offer advantageous publication conditions in Open Access for the institution's researchers. Under certain conditions, publication costs can be partially or fully covered under these agreements.
  • Information for the academic community: specialised members of the University Library are available to inform researchers about the options available to help finance their publications.
Are there discounts?

Through the signature of contracts with certain publishers, the Library of the University of Geneva benefits from advantageous conditions detailed in a table.

Versions of a document - AAM - VoR

The illustration below shows the standard process for publishing an article, with the successive stages between the drafting of the first manuscript and its final form distributed by the publisher.

An accepted manuscript is the manuscript of an article that has been accepted for publication and which typically includes author-incorporated changes suggested during submission, peer review, and editor-author communications. They do not include other publisher value-added contributions such as copy-editing, formatting, technical enhancements and (if relevant) pagination.



Monitoring at the UNIGE and University VAT ID

When a publisher establish an invoice, they might ask for the university VAT number. UNIGE VAT number is CHE-114-927-636.


Following the deployment of the University's new system for managing payments, cost elements are gradually being replaced. Further information will follow shortly.

The right choice of expenditure type makes it easy to identify all the invoices concerned and thus obtain the sum of the expenditure made throughout the institution for scientific publication. Knowing these figures is necessary when negotiating with publishers for contract renewals, for example.

Ringgold Id

Ringgold Id's are identifiers used by publishers to distinguish their customers. Below are the ones for the University and the Hospital:

  • Universite de Geneve: 27212
  • Hopitaux Universitaires Geneve: 27230

Lower entities (faculties, libraries, sections...) may also have been assigned a Ringgold Id.