As this question mentions and as I know from my (limited) experience, some journals demand a high fee to make the articles you submit to be available as open-access. For example, a quote from JVSTB Info for contributors:

There are no page charges required for publishing. Authors have the option during submission to indicate if they would like the article to publish as open access. There is a $2200 fee for open access.

I can't imagine every researcher to pay this from his own pocket. I can see some universities are willing to cover these fees. However, I am pretty sure that my own university will not pay for this. What other sources to cover open-access fees I can look for?

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    I have tried to find out more related to this in a question that asks from the other direction. (Apparently, the OA policy discussed in that question does not cause any OA payments as described in your question, but it is somewhat related, nonetheless.) Dec 13, 2015 at 23:16
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    I think for most people, if their university won't pay for the OA fee, their reaction is not "Let me try to find other funding sources" but rather "Let me look for a different place to publish". Dec 13, 2015 at 23:50
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    @NateEldredge I think, in most cases journals are selected based on the paper topic and the intended audience, not on the journal's open-access policy. YMMV, however.
    – svavil
    Dec 13, 2015 at 23:56
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    Of course that's the first consideration. But often you can find another journal whose scope, audience and selectivity are very similar, and whose OA policy is different. And that may be easier than beating the bushes for funding sources which in many cases do not exist. Dec 14, 2015 at 1:26
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    @NateEldredge it's even easier in this case since it sounds the paper could be published for free in the same journal if not made open access. That sounds like the most reasonable thing to do.
    – Cape Code
    Dec 14, 2015 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


Per the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)'s guide to open access income models:

According to one survey, article processing fees are wholly or partially subsidized, either by a research grant (34%), a foundation grant (5%), or by the author’s host department (8%) or institutional library (27%). The payment of such fees out of an author’s personal funds appears relatively low—about 5% across all open access journals.

The most common sources of funding for open access publication are research grants (that allow open access fees to be charged to the grant) and institutional library funds. PLOS has compiled a list of some institutions and funders from around the world who have Open Access funds or policies to support open access publishing charges. You can check that list to see if any of those are available to you.

If none of these options are available to you, find out if the publisher can offer a fee waiver. According to the SPARC guide:

Most publishers using the model make allowances for special situations (for example, individuals without a host institution or from less developed countries), assessing lower fees or waiving fees altogether when no institutional subsidy exists. Society publishers often discount article publication fees for members, or waive them entirely.

For example, PLOS waives fees for research from eligible low-income countries and offers fee assistance for authors who have no other source of funding that covers the open access publication charges. Similarly, Elsevier offers fee waivers "in cases of genuine need." Wiley offers an automatic waiver to authors in certain eligible low-income countries, and discount to authors from another group of countries. Springer has a similar automatic waiver, and also allows authors to submit individual waiver requests.


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