Price setting

Elsevier publishes journal articles under two separate business models:

  1. Subscription articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by subscribing individuals or institutions.
  2. Open access articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by authors, their institution or funding bodies, commonly known as Article Publishing Charges (APCs).

Elsevier separately calculates pricing for each of these business models.  Subscription prices are set independent of open access articles, and open access articles are not considered when setting subscription prices.  Elsevier has a no double dipping policy, which enshrines this principle. Read Elsevier’s no double dipping policy.

Article Publishing Charges (APCs)

Gold open access articles are made freely available for everyone to read upon publication, as the cost of publishing is recovered upfront through APCs rather than from subscribers. Elsevier’s APC prices are set on a per journal basis, ranging from $500 -$5,000 US Dollars with prices clearly displayed on our APC price list and on journal homepages.

Adjustments in Elsevier’s APC prices are under regular review and are subject to change. We set APC prices based on the following criterion which is applied to open access articles only:

  • Journal impact factor;
  • The journal’s editorial and technical processes;
  • Competitive considerations;
  • Market conditions;
  • Other revenue streams associated with the journal.

A small percentage of titles may also support more than one APC, for example when a journal supports one or more article types that require different APCs. Variations* in pricing will be clearly displayed on journal homepages.

Download 2016 APC prices (PDF)


If an author would like their article to be published under a gold open access model, but cannot afford the APC, then individual waiver requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and may be granted in cases of genuine need. Priority for this waiver program will be given to applications by authors from countries eligible for the Research4Life program.

Funding body agreements

Elsevier has established funding body agreements to help authors comply with the open access requirements of the major funding bodies. In some cases, funding bodies will reimburse the APC paid by the authors.

*Please note: While it is not Elsevier’s policy to vary our APC prices based on the user license chosen by the author, we also publish journals on behalf of learned societies or other third parties who reserve the right to determine their own prices and pricing policies.  Any deviations in pricing from Elsevier’s standard APC price list per journal will be clearly displayed on the journal’s homepage.

Subscription prices

Elsevier publishes subscription articles whose publication is funded by payments that are made by subscribing individuals or institutions.  Subscription prices are set independent of open access articles and open access articles are not included when calculating subscription prices. Subscription prices are calculated and adjusted based on the following criteria:

  • Article volume;
  • Journal impact factor;
  • Journal usage;
  • Editorial processes;
  • Competitive considerations;
  • And other revenue streams such as commercial contributions from advertising, reprints and supplements.

These criteria are applied only to subscription articles, not to open access articles when setting list prices. For specific information please see our subscription price list for librarians and agents.

Purchasing options

Elsevier provides a range of purchasing options for subscription articles which are tailored for a wide variety of people. These include:

  • For libraries and institutions: There are a number of subscription options available which are tailored according to the specific customer situation and reflect a number of factors. For customers who purchase collections these considerations include competitive considerations, market conditions, the number of archival rights they purchase, and agreement specific factors like agreement length, currency and payment terms. Collection prices are adjusted on an annual basis, and any adjustment is based on factors including competitive considerations, market conditions, the number, quality, and usage of subscription articles published, and on technical features and platform capabilities. Open access articles are not included in these calculations. Click here for more details
  • Individuals: Researchers who are not affiliated to an institution, or who would simply like convenient access to a title not available from their library, can take advantage of our personal access options. These options include credit card based transactional article sale, article rental.
  • For more information on our free and low cost access programs click here.

No Double Dipping

Elsevier's policy is not to charge subscribers for open access articles and when calculating subscription prices only to take into account subscription articles – we do not double dip.

Concerns around double dipping are often premised on the expectation that open access articles are replacing the number of subscription articles being published and therefore that prices should be changing to correspond to this.  However, here are some relevant data points to take into account:

  • The total volume of articles published globally by the industry has grown on average at 4% per year over the last few years, driven by the ongoing increase in global research activity.
  • Recently Elsevier's article growth has been higher than this 4% figure.
  • In 2014, Elsevier published almost 400,000 new articles. This figure includes 5,700 open access articles.

List prices for journals that publish both open access and subscription articles

For journals which publish subscription articles and open access articles, prices will be set by business model.  Adjustments in individual journal subscription list prices will be based only on criteria applied to subscription articles.  Open access articles will not be considered in the individual journal list price.  Similarly, the APC per journal will only be determined based on the criteria applied to open access articles.


As with journal list prices, collection prices reflect subscription articles only; they are linked to the prices of individual titles in a collection, which do not count open access articles when setting prices.

Retrospective open access

So as to ensure we are able to uphold our no double dipping policy and separate calculations regarding list prices from open access articles, we do not offer authors the option to retrospectively make a subscription article gold open access after publication. We do, however, understand that there are sometimes exceptional circumstances. We are happy to assist authors as it may still be possible to make a subscription article, published in a hybrid journal, gold open access up until 31st January of the following year. For example, if the article has a formal date of publication of March 2016, authors are able to make their article open access up until the 31st January 2017. This cutoff date is necessary to accurately assess the open access uptake in each individual hybrid journal for the previous year which ensures we do not charge subscribers for open access content. To request retrospective open access or for further details, please contact us.