I am part of a postdoc research with a grant that requires publishing in open-access. An article of mine was just accepted for publication within a journal after some major revision. Given that the required revision is outside my expertise, I asked a colleague from an other university to join the article as a second author. However, I don't know whether there is a standard practice about paying open-access fees when authors from multiple universities are involved.

  • 5
    In some instances, institutions have agreements with publishers wherein if the lead/corresponding author belongs to such an institution, then the institution pays the fees.
    – The Guy
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 0:39
  • Something to check: does the grant require instantaneous gold open access, or will the funder be satisfied with green open access with an embargo period? You might be able to achieve the latter without a fee. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Frequently, when a funding agency requires open-access (OA) publications, project participants allot a certain amount of funds to pay the OA fees. And in case of joint paper, it is common, in my experience, for the main author to pay the OA fees with the allotted funds.

In case of joint papers where there aren’t already allotted funds for the OA fees, who usually pays, again in my experience, is either the main author or the author who has more funds available.

So, overall, there’s probably no standard, but just gentlemen agreements. In your case, since you’re the one who has the grant requiring OA publications, I’d pay the fees.

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    "In your case, since you’re the one who has the grant requiring OA publications, I’d pay the fees." That's so generous of you :-)
    – user541686
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 12:38

There's no hard-and-fast rule on this. If the authors all have roughly the same degree of involvement in the paper (and all of them have similar levels of grant funding available), then splitting the cost seems the fairest way. I've done this before, splitting the bill three ways and the publishers seemed perfectly happy to send out several invoices.

However, in the situation you describe – where the paper was originally yours alone, and you asked a colleague to join as a co-author to help with revisions – the situation is less symmetric. It sounds as if your colleague joined the project partly or wholly as a personal favour to you, and in that case, it doesn't seem entirely fair to expect them to contribute to the cost. So (from what you've written) I'd say that in this particular case you should be the one paying the fees. (If your research grant explicitly requires OA publishing, then there should presumably be some funding set aside in the grant budget to pay this.)

  • 4
    Agreed, a colleague who didn't get to have any input on the choice of publication venue shouldn't be expected to pay.
    – Anyon
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 16:00

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