Policies for waivers of Journal Article Fees

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2021


Purpose: Open access (OA) publishing in scientific journals is often associated with significant article processing charges (APCs) that may introduce a disparity for authors in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We sought to examine the landscape of global oncologic journal publishing practices, focusing particularly on waiver policies for OA APCs for authors from LMICs.

Methods: Journals were identified using the SCImago Journal & Country Rank database. Journals offering OA options with APC data openly available were included. Data tabulated included OA type, APC amount, APC waiver status, continent of origin, primary treatment modality, treatment site-specific modality, and journal impact quartile. Wilcoxon rank sum testing, Chi-square testing, multivariate binary logistic regression modeling, and descriptive data were used for analyses.

Results: Two hundred seventy-two journals met inclusion criteria. Overall, 51.5% of oncologic journals offered a LMIC APC waiver. On univariate testing, full OA journals (PP=.024), treatment site-specific (P=.001), and those with lower APCs (PP=.44), with multivariate logistic regression analyses, full OA status (odds ratio (OR) 5.50 [2.42-12.82], PP=.001), treatment site specificity (OR 3.74 [1.87-7.52], P

Conclusions: Hybrid OA journals, North American-based journals, and journals requiring higher APCs are less likely to provide fee waivers for LMIC authors. These findings suggest current publication standards may introduce or exacerbate disparities in the shareability and access to international research. Proactive efforts are needed from publishing houses to create equity in global oncologic research.

Academic Level

medical student

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