Open Access FAQ

What kind of funding is available for UCSF authors who want to publish open access (OA) articles?

There are several types of discounts or funding support from the Library in place with numerous publishers. All of the following types of agreements and discounts are listed by publisher name at Discounts and Funding for Open Access Publishing.

  1. Transformative open access agreements (UC-wide) with publishers provide funding support to UC corresponding authors to publish their scholarly articles open access. Many (but not all) of these agreements use the following model:
    • The UC Libraries automatically pay at least the first $1000 of the article processing charge (APC). UC has also negotiated a discounted APC rate for many journals. Funding is handled through the publisher's manuscript system.
      • Other author discounts such as member rates may supplant UC's discount and subsidy.
    •  If there’s any remaining balance due on the APC, the publisher payment system will ask UC authors if they have grant funding available to cover the balance. This cost-sharing model is designed to enable the UC libraries to stretch their available funds and help as many authors as possible.
    • If an author does not have grant funds to cover that difference, the UC libraries will pay the entire article processing charge on their behalf, ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish open access. 
    • Check details for each publisher agreement to verify the discount or subsidy, how payment works, and which journals and article types are covered. 
  2. Transformative open access agreements (UCSF-only): UCSF has agreements with Cold Spring Harbor Lab Press and The Microbiology Society that cover the full open access article publication cost for all UCSF corresponding authors. 
  3. Discounts for open access publishing charges ranging from 10% -75% are available with several additional publishers through either UC-wide or UCSF-only agreements. 

New publisher agreements will be announced in Library News and will be added to the Discounts & Funding page.

UCSF’s Open Access Publishing Fund has been discontinued. More details are available on the website. This program previously provided funding for open access publications not covered by a transformative publisher agreement.

Is there a list of all the journals with OA discounts or funding support?

We don’t have a comprehensive title list at this time since the agreements are with several different publishers. We hope to have a searchable resource in the future.

The Discounts and Funding for Open Access Publication has a comprehensive list of publishers and links to journals included in each agreement. A handful of agreements exclude some titles, so be sure to check whether your journal is included. 

Are authors required to publish all articles open access now? What if I’m an investigator with research funds but don’t want to use my funds to pay for OA publishing?

All UC authors have the academic freedom to publish where they wish and to choose either the traditional/paywalled option or the open access option. The default option for UC authors of scholarly articles with publishers we have transformative OA agreements with is open access. If it's a subscription journal where OA is optional, the UC Academic Senate encourages you to go with the open access option. You can however opt out of the OA model and publish your article under the traditional model, which restricts readership to subscribers or pay-per-article access.

There is a wide range of open access journals with different fee levels for you to consider, and there are also OA journals that do not charge any fees. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a trusted community-funded resource for fully OA journals.

You can also make the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) version of articles published under a subscription model freely available per UC’s open access policies. See 'Do authors have other options for making their work open access' below. 

My article has been accepted for publication by Elsevier, BMC, PLOS or another publisher with a transformative UC publishing agreement. How do I get the $1000 subvention or full coverage from the Library for my article?

Directly through the publisher’s manuscript submission and payment system. There is no need to request funds from the UCSF Library. A central UC Libraries account managed by the California Digital Library reviews all funding requests to verify the UC affiliation of the corresponding author. You'll find details for all publishers on the agreement main page for that publisher under the 'article payment process' section. 

How does the Library have the budget to pay for OA publishing?

Our agreements with publishers repurpose library funds spent on journal subscriptions to support open access publishing. The multipayer model and our publisher agreements do not reduce the libraries’ financial responsibility. The libraries will continue to ensure that UC scholars have access to subscription journal content.

UC is shifting its investment from paying to read journals in transformative agreements to paying based on UC authors publishing in the publisher's journals. Based on careful modeling of UC publication rates, baseline fees have been established, with these amounts paid in bulk by UC. The exact amounts paid will be determined by UC corresponding author choices to publish open access and the amount authors contribute from their research funds.  

Cost controls have been put in place so that the total owed by UC in any year of the agreement is bounded, and APC (article processing charge) rates will remain the same throughout the term of the agreement.

Do authors have other options for making their work open access besides paying the publisher?

Authors have two ways to make a fee-free version of their scholarly publications free and open for all to access. These methods are often referred to as self-archiving or green open access. Read more about gold and green OA.

  1. Deposit your manuscript as a preprint in an open access preprint repository. A preprint is a manuscript of scholarly research that has not undergone peer review. Preprints are free to publish, and can be cited and updated. Most journals allow preprint deposit of manuscripts submitted for publication. See our recommended preprint servers
  2. All UC employees (including faculty, staff, and graduate student researchers) can deposit their final author’s accepted manuscripts in eScholarship per UC’s open access policies. Read more about which version of the publication to deposit. Any UC author on the publication can exercise this right (read more), and only one author needs to deposit the article in eScholarship. No payment is necessary to publish this version of your publications.

Students who are not paid employees may be able to follow this practice in accordance to the publisher's self-archiving rights. Refer to the publication agreement you signed for "self-archiving" or "green open access" rights for your article. If the agreement is not available, look up the journal's policy in  Sherpa Romeo, a non-profit database of publisher open access policies. 

In addition, there are many quality open access journals that charge no or low fees for publishing OA. These journals are subsidized by library or institutional memberships, societies, or funders. Use the community-funded Directory of Open Access Journals to search for trusted OA journals. 

How can I tell if a journal is reputable?

See our recommendations for evaluating unfamiliar journals and conferences to assess a journal's trustworthiness, and see steps to finding the right journal for publication.

Check journals that are fully open access in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Journals that have records in DOAJ can be trusted to not be deceptive/predatory.

Visit our Open Access Publishing page for more information or to connect with a scholarly communication expert.  

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