OA Fund Update - FY 2022

Maximum grant: $2,000 (July 2021)

Grants from the Libraries' Open Access Publishing Support Fund are limited to a maximum of $2,000 per article, and $2,000 per faculty member each year, effective July 1, 2021.

  • Why are the University Libraries lowering the maximum funding available for open access publishing fees?
    • The Libraries' primary goal is to sustain our support for every faculty member who chooses to publish work in a qualifying open access journal, even if our support is unable to cover the entire fee. With budgets across Grand Valley - and the rest of higher education - still tightly constrained and highly uncertain, a lower limit on funding will reduce the risk of exhausting the fund too early, leaving later applicants with no support at all.
  • How will this affect OA Fund applicants?
    • ​​​​​​This should not impact most applicants. After ceasing to fund "hybrid" or mirror journals in 2019, data from the fund indicates an average fee of only $1,105.
  • What if the fee for my article is higher than $2,000?
    • If a grant from the OA Fund is insufficient to cover the total publishing cost for your article, other university funding may be available. Past applicants have successfully used CSCE minigrants, professional development funding, or other funds from their unit in order to cover additional costs
  • How can I find journals with fees under $2,000?
    • The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) includes fee information for most indexed journals, and is also a great resource for finding new journals in a given subject area.
    • You should also be able to find clear information about publishing fees online for a high-quality open access journal. Transparent publishing fees are a highly recommended practice for open access journals, and contribute to a journal's eligibility for indexes like DOAJ as well as eligibility for GVSU's OA Fund.
    • You can also work with your Liaison Librarian to identify potential open access journals for your research.
  • Who can I talk to about this change?
    • Please direct any questions or concerns to Matt Ruen, Scholarly Communications Outreach Coordinator, ruenm@gvsu.edu. ​

Eligibility Criteria

Hybrid & Mirror Journals

In the "hybrid" model of open access publishing, a subscription journal allows authors to pay a fee to make an individual article open access. Otherwise, the article is only available with subscription access. As of September 2019, hybrid journals are no longer eligible for support from the Libraries' Open Access Publishing Support Fund.

  • Why did the Libraries stop funding hybrid (or mirror) open access in 2019?
    • Hybrid open access is disproportionately costly, with average publishing fees roughly twice as expensive as articles in purely open access journals. Very few institutions and research funders support hybrid publication fees, and hybrid open access has not led many journals to transition to a completely open access model.
    • Ending support for hybrid open access will not impact authors' ability to publish in the journal of their choice, because traditional subscription publication remains an option in all hybrid journals. 
    • Additionally, most hybrid journals allow authors to share the accepted manuscript version of their article in an open access repository, like ScholarWorks@GVSU, without any fee. Ending support for hybrid open access therefore the Libraries to more efficiently allocate university resources with limited negative impact on authors.
  • How was this decision made?
    • We evaluated six years of data and experience from operating the Open Access Fund, reviewed the criteria and structure of similar funds at 32 other North American institutions, conducted a survey of Open Access grant recipients, and closely followed developments in the scholarly publishing community. We also considered the changing financial landscape at GVSU as well as the university's strategic priorities.
    • In early 2019, we exhausted the funding available for 2018-2019 Open Access grants much earlier than anticipated. This prompted an accelerated overhaul of the Fund criteria to ensure we continue to responsibly and effectively manage university resources.
  • What are mirror journals?
    • Mirror journals are a recent trend in which a subscription journal establishes a nearly-identical open access version.
    • The original and the mirror journal typically share the same editorial board, submission and review processes, scope, coverage, and workflows, with only a slight variation in the journal title. (e.g., Elsevier publishes Water Research and Water Research X, which are identical except for the X and the open vs subscription model. 
    • Mirror journals first emerged as a number of research funding agencies began requiring grant recipients to publish in fully open access journals, rather than in hybrid or subscription journals.
  • Why are mirror journals also ineligible for the Libraries' funding?
    • Currently, mirror journals appear to be little more than hybrid open access by another name, with the same sustainability concerns. As with hybrid journals, if an author submits work to a mirror journal but ultimately declines to pay the publishing fee, their work will still be published in the subscription-based original journal.
    • The Libraries will continue to evaluate mirror journals as they evolve, and may change this policy if mirror journals prove to be a sustainable path to full open access.  


  • Who is eligible to apply for the Open Access Fund?
    • Current GVSU tenure-track, visiting, affiliate and adjunct faculty, staff, and currently registered graduate students are eligible to receive funds.
  • Are undergraduate students eligible for the fund?
    • Articles co-authored by faculty and undergraduates are eligible to receive full funding. The faculty author should submit the application for funding. 
  • Does each GVSU coauthor on a single article have to submit a separate application to receive funding?
    • No, each article requires only one application.
  • Which GVSU coauthor should submit the application?
    • In most cases, it doesn't matter. However, it may be worth careful thought if an author plans to publish multiple articles in a fiscal year, due to the per-author limit of $2,000.
  • Are there any limits to the amount that an author can request, either per article or cumulatively?
    • The Open Access Fund has a $2,000 limit per article, as well as a $2,000 limit per author per fiscal year.
    • For example, an author might receive grants for two articles with $1,000 fees, but would not be eligible for a third article in that fiscal year. Similarly, if a single article has a $4,500 fee, the Open Access Fund could cover up to $2,000 of the total cost, regardless of the number of GVSU authors.
  • Are Grand Valley State University authors being told to publish in certain journals?
    • No, GVSU authors are welcome to publish in any journal they wish.  This fund is in place to assist those authors who wish to publish in open access journals.
  • Do authors need to exhaust other funding sources that can be used to pay for submission fees before applying to the Open Access Fund?
    • Yes, authors with alternate sources of funding, such as grants, should use those sources before applying to the fund.
  • What happens in the case of multiple authorship, when some authors are from our institution and others are not?
    • We encourage authors from other institutions to contribute to the cost of publishing, because many institutions have funding similar to the Libraries' Open Access Fund.
    • However, if external authors and/or their institutions are unable to assist with publishing costs, a GVSU coauthor is eligible for full funding, up to the per-article and per-author limits.


  • Does my eligibility for open access funding depend on the number of coauthors or the order in which authors are listed?
    • No. Any GVSU-affiliated coauthor may apply for funding, up to the limit of $2,000 per article.
    • Context: prior to Fall 2019, grants were prorated based on the total number of authors. E.g.,  if an article had 2 GVSU authors and 1 author from another institution, the grant would be capped at 2/3 of the full publication fee.  
  • Why did the Libraries stop prorating grants?
    • The Libraries initially prorated grants to encourage (or require) other institutions to support their faculty with similar open access funding. In practice, this approach had very mixed success. Some grants were withdrawn because co-authors did not have available funding. In many other cases, GVSU authors received an Open Access grant for their portion of a fee, and covered a coauthor's share with departmental funding or other GVSU resources.
    • Prorating also increased the complexity of grant applications, payment processing, and record-keeping, with minimal benefit.
    • In 2019, we determined that prorating grants did not advance any library or university goals enough to outweigh the risk of discouraging collaboration.

Application Process & Payment

  • What types of journals are eligible for the Fund?
    • Funding is available for newly published (within the past six months), peer reviewed articles in open access journals that charge a publication fee associated with the cost of making an article freely available.  These journals must make open access articles freely available on the internet at the time of publication, with no embargo period. Eligible journals must make be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or follow best practices in scholarly publishing, as identified by DOAJ and by the GVSU Libraries.  Journals must also make their fee schedule publicly available online. Your liaison librarian can help you find a qualifying publication or determine whether a particular journal meets these criteria. 
  • What types of fees are covered by the fund?
    • Fees associated with the cost making an article freely available are covered by the fund.  Costs for reprints, color illustration fees, non-open access page charges, administrative charges and other fees are not applicable. 
  • Can the Open Access Fund be used to cover formats other than journal articles that are openly accessible, such as conference presentations and monographs?
    • Currently the Open Access Fund may only be applied to peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • Does the Open Access Fund cover "hybrid" Open Access publishers that offer authors open access to their article for a fee?
    • No. The Open Access Fund is restricted to completely open access journals.
  • Does the Open Access Fund cover "mirror" journals (i.e., an open access duplicate of a subscription journal, with the same editorial process and scope)?
    • No. The Open Access Fund is restricted to completely open access journals.
  • What is the procedure for payment?
    • Open Access funding is granted through reimbursement, which allows you to control how and when the invoice is paid. The library will reimburse department funds when all grant material is provided.
    • Please send your invoice and receipt of payment to your department’s OnBase administrator to create a transfer request. When your grant is approved, you will receive specific instructions for this transfer.
  • Who decides which applications are funded?
    • Applications are reviewed by the applicant's unit head, the University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Outreach Coordinator, and the Executive Director of the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence. Applications meeting eligibility requirements are funded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds for that year are depleted.
  • How do I apply?

Open Access Publishing

  • What is an open access journal?
    • An open access journal is one that provides free global online access with minimal or no copyright limitations. That means anyone, anywhere with access to the Internet may read, download, copy, and distribute that article with attribution to the original author.
  • Do open access journals employ peer review? 
    • Yes, there are thousands of peer-reviewed open access journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals indexes roughly 12,000 peer-reviewed, open access journals which follow best practices for quality and transparency in open access publishing. A growing number of commercial databases also index open access journals which meet their criteria. For example, Web of Science includes 5,000 open access journals which have passed rigorous review for quality and impact.
  • What is a hybrid journal?
    • A “hybrid journal” is a traditional subscription journal which allows authors to make individual articles open access by paying an additional publication fee. Initially, hybrid journals appeared to give subscription publishers a transition path to fully open access publishing. In practice, however, hybrid journals have not sparked widespread transformation. Hybrid open access publishing fees are also significantly higher, on average, than fees for fully open journals, making this an unsustainable approach to open access. Hybrid open access articles are not eligible for the Libraries' Open Access Fund.
  • What is a mirror journal?
    • A "mirror journal" is an open access duplicate of a subscription or hybrid journal. A mirror journal typically shares its parent journal's editorial board, aims and scope, submission workflow, and peer review process. Mirror journals also have a nearly-identical name, as with Elsevier's Water Research and Water Research X. Mirror journals are essentially a different approach to hybrid open access, with open access articles displayed in a symbolic second journal despite identical criteria and shared processes. The appearance of mirror journals coincides with growing criticism of the hybrid publishing model from research funders and universities.
  • Can the Open Access Fund be used to cover formats other than journal articles that are openly accessible, such as conference presentations and monographs?
    • Currently the Open Access Fund may only be applied to peer-reviewed journal articles. However, the Libraries continually re-evaluate our open access services. If alternative formats of open access publishing are relevant for your scholarly or creative work, please let us know.
  • Do other institutions have this kind of fund?
  • From where does the money for the Open Access Fund come?
    • The open access fund is sponsored by the University Libraries. Funds allocated for this support cannot be used for and have no impact on monies allocated for journal subscription.

Can I make my research open access without paying any fees?

Most of the time, yes! 

A majority of subscription journals give authors permission to share an accepted manuscript (after peer-review, before final editing and layout) or submitted manuscript (before peer-review). The Libraries can help you determine what version(s) you are able to share, for any previously-published peer-reviewed work. Once this rights-checking is complete, the appropriate versions of your work can be shared in a personal website or in the repository ScholarWorks@GVSU. Contact your liaison librarian to learn more about rights-checking. 

Also, as an author you have the power to reserve some of your copyrights when signing the publication agreement with a journal.  You can request to reserve the rights that will allow you the option to post the article on a personal website and in ScholarWorks@GVSU. This is easily done with an author’s addendum, which can be attached to the publisher's copyright transfer agreement you will be asked to sign when your paper is accepted.  Your liaison librarian can help you understand the different options that are available.