Collection Spotlight: ACM Open and Other OA Resources for Engineering and Computer Science

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April 22, 2024, 11 a.m.
Did you know publishing Open Access is not always free?
triangles in shades of blue with ACM Open in words

by Juan Denzer, Engineering and Computer Science Librarian

Are you looking to publish in an Open Access (OA) journal in the field of Engineering or Computer Science? Did you know that not all OA journals are free to publish in? Are you aware that many highly ranked academic journals may charge fees to publish with them?

These fees, known as an article processing charge (APC) or a publication fee, are added by publishers to cover costs for things such as editorial staff and administering the peer review system. Charges can range from as little as $100 up to $5,000 or more and are determined by the publisher. Authors either pay the cost out of pocket or search for another journal.

What other options are available for authors who must pay-to-publish or, as others call it, “pay-to-play”? How can a scholar or faculty member avoid paying these fees, especially when committed to publishing your research in OA? Or when your preferred journal is well respected and choosing another journal is not the best option for you?

Thankfully, institutions like Syracuse University can enter into agreements with publishers where the institution will cover the publisher's costs. These agreements are known as Transformative Agreements. They can include conditions where institutions will cover the APC fee for their authors to publish in OA for a specific journal. This is a great way to lower costs for authors while providing an incentive to publish in OA.

Syracuse University Libraries is committed to helping our authors with APC costs. The Libraries has several Transformative Agreements that can be found on our Transformative Agreements and APC Coverage research guide. The list includes American Chemical Society, Cambridge University Press, Wiley, PLOS and others

One example is with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2023, then Department Chair for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Jae Oh reached out to the ECS librarian inquiring about ACM's move to a new open access model. Dr. Oh was concerned the new fees that would fall on ECS faculty and wanted to discuss the impact. The ECS librarian scheduled a meeting with Dr. Oh and the Libraries’ Head of Research and Scholarship, Anne Rauh, and the Open Scholarship Librarian, Dylan Mohr. During the meeting, the Libraries assured Dr. Oh that ECS faculty would not be impacted by APC fees, as the Libraries was already working on finalizing a Transformative Agreement around ACM OPEN (ACM’s Transformative Model for Open Access Publication).

Syracuse University Libraries' agreement with ACM covers all APC costs for University affiliates, including co-authors who may not be affiliated with SU. This way University authors can be confident that APC fees will be covered when collaborating with authors outside of Syracuse University. Transformative Agreements also provide incentive to publish in OA, making research more widely available.

If there are OA journals that Syracuse University Libraries does not currently have a Transformative Agreement with, reach out to your subject librarian who can inquire about it for your department and potentially recommend that the library investigate.

Visit our Research Guides for additional information about Syracuse University's Transformative Agreements and APC Coverage or Open Access.

If you have any question about OA and the current transformative Agreements, reach out to the Open Scholarship Librarian, Dylan Mohr at You can also contact the Engineering and Computer Science Librarian at for any questions about publishing in engineering and computer science. To provide feedback or suggest a title to add to the collection, please complete the Resource Feedback Form.

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