EGU journals per-paper APC pilot

3 December 2020

EGU journals currently calculate article processing charges (APCs) based on a cost per page of the final published journal article. This creates two specific problems:

  1. An increasing number of institutions and funders place a limit on the APC that they will fund. Often, they also specify that their support is conditional on the APCs not exceeding €2,000 gross, so authors are not allowed to claim the €2,000 and supplement from other resources.
  2. The APCs are based on the number of formatted final journal pages, which often does not correspond to the submitted manuscript length. This means that authors submitting their manuscripts do not know with certainty if they will hit the limit or what their APCs will be at the end of the process.

Current practice is to grant discounts for cases where authors hit funder limits. This does not address the second issue, and is not the best solution to the first issue since it causes work for authors, editors, and Copernicus, and since it effectively introduces two pricing policies, one for authors from institutions or funders with caps, and one for other authors.

To test a model calculating APCs per paper while securing the running operation of the EGU journals, the EGU and Copernicus agreed to first give it a try by implementing a pilot for two journals. Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) and Climate of the Past (CP) volunteer by applying this pilot to their manuscripts submitted from 1 January 2021. For such manuscripts, if finally accepted and published as journal articles, contact authors will receive invoices with a fixed amount of €1,600 net for their paper, independent of the actual length. Since APC invoices are subject to the reverse-charge principle, authors' institutions might be obliged to undergo VAT taxation in their country. For almost all European countries, the VAT is below or at the level of 25%, which turns €1,600 net into €2,000 gross matching the above-mentioned cap. Corrigenda will be free of charge.

The EGU and Copernicus will evaluate the pilot in 2022 to decide on a further implementation of this model. If a per-paper APC model were extended to EGU journals that have short communications, there would be a reduced rate for these papers.