What happens to my application for funding to pay open access fees / article processing charges (APCs)

The Library’s open access team will ensure that they have all the information they need to process your application. They will check if:

  • the open access option offered by the journal or conference proceedings meets the open access policies of the funders acknowledged in the work
  • the APC is for open access immediately on publication on the publisher’s website and, if the journal is open access, that it is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals
  • the article has been accepted for publication but is not already published 
  • the amount requested matches the open access fee displayed on the publisher’s website and does not include other charges such as colour, submission, or page charges
  • the article qualifies for one of Imperial's Publisher agreements and discounts

APC applications are normally processed within three working days.


If approved, you will receive email confirmation and further instructions. You should then contact the publisher confirming you wish to make your article open access. If you are acknowledging funding in your work the funder may require a specific license to be applied to the article (e.g. CC BY) so you should ensure that this is selected.

If your APC is eligible to be fully covered through one of our agreements, you will not need to make a payment. Some publishers will automatically identify eligible papers, but for those that require action from the author we will provide you with the necessary instructions.

Where payment of an APC is required, in most cases we will be able to provide you with Virtual Credit Card (VCC) details upon approval of your application. You will then be able to make an immediate payment to the publisher as if you were using a normal credit card.

Where the VCC option is not available we will provide you with a purchase order (PO) number, VAT number and correct billing address upon approval, so that you can request an invoice from the publisher. You can then forward the invoice to us and we will pass it on to Accounts Payable for payment, which should be made within 30 days of the invoice date.  


A member of the OA team will contact you if further information is required. If we are unable to resolve the issue your application will be rejected. However, by depositing your manuscript in Spiral via Symplectic it will become open access, in Imperial’s repository, after any embargo periods have expired.

A common reason for rejecting an application is that a publisher's open access options are not compliant with a UK research funder's policy. Learned and professional society publishers frequently fall into this category and we strongly recommend that you check the compliance of these journals with your funder's open access policy before submitting a paper.

If your work is funded by UKRI(RCUK) or the Wellcome Trust, you can consult the Journal Checker Tool to find out if your preferred journal is compliant, and if you are funded by BHF or CRUK you can use SHERPA FACT. Please contact the open access team if you are unsure.