UCSF Open Access Publishing Fund

UCSF Open Access Fund

This pilot fund helps cover open access publication fees for scholars who do not have grant or other funds available to cover them. The goals of this pilot program are to:

  • Foster greater dissemination of the work of UCSF scholars.
  • Encourage author control of copyright.
  • Provide opportunities for libraries, faculty, and campus groups to engage in discussion about open access and scholarly communication.
  • Demonstrate an institutional commitment to open access and alternative and not-for-profit publishing models.

UCSF current faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, fellows, residents and professional students are eligible for funds to cover:

  1. Open access journal article processing charges (APCs).
  2. Open access monograph publishing fees.
  3. Open access to UCSF electronic theses & dissertations in the Dissertations & Theses database.

See Eligibility & Guidelines and apply for funding

The UCSF Library and the California Digital Library (CDL) are providing the funds for UCSF's pilot in order to support UCSF scholars interested in reshaping models of scholarly publication. The Library will track how the funds are spent and will evaluate the success and sustainability of the pilot after December 31, 2013.

Contact the Library with questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • 1. What are the benefits of open access publishing?

    Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free for all to read immediately upon publication, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA publication allows others to copy, use, share, and display the work publicly, subject to proper attribution of authorship. Opening scholarly content to such uses maximizes the rate of scientific discovery by removing the access and copyright barrier typically enforced by subsciption-based publishers. 

    As with subscription publications, OA publications are edited by professional editors and reviewed by scholars. The OA difference is that the fruits of this largely free labor is no longer kept behind a pay wall; the benefits of obtaining access to this scholarly content can be shared by all, without having to pay.

  • 2. Why is UCSF helping to fund open access publishing?

    Open access has emerged as a model to address the problem of increasing journal subscription costs and to satisfy scholars' desire to make their research publicly accessible. While not all OA journals charge a publishing fee, many of those that interest UCSF authors do.

    The UC Libraries' memberships with OA publishers BioMed Central and PLoS and subscriptions with other publishers, offer UC authors a discount on OA journal article processing charges (see this chart for details). This fund will go further by helping cover more, if not all, of the APCs for those authors who do not have another source of funding.

  • 3. Are OA journals and books peer-reviewed?

    Yes. A journal's economic or access policy does not determine its peer review policy. Most scholarly journals, whether open or controlled access, are rigorously peer-reviewed, usually by faculty at UCSF and other scholarly institutions around the world. There are both open and controlled journals that are not peer-reviewed. Many publishers now have an open access option for individual articles. This open access option does not change the quality of the peer review or editorial process for those journals or articles.

  • 4. How do authors distinguish the good OA journals from the bad ones?

    Open access is not a designation of quality. OA journals should be judged by exactly the same criteria as any traditional publication: the caliber of the research published, the peer review process, the composition of the editorial board and staff, impact factors, or any other trusted metrics of quality. Contact the Library if you would like more information about a particular publisher or journal.

  • 5. How does this fund relate to the Open Access Policy?

    The UCSF Open Access Policy applies to all scholarly journal articles authored by UCSF faculty, regardless of what journal they are published in. This fund is for OA articles, and other groups such as postdocs and students are eligible to apply for funds.

  • 6. Why are reimbursement amounts different for hybrid vs. fully OA journals?

    Fully OA journals provide more benefits to readers since search tools can make broader use of their content vs. individual OA articles within a hybrid OA journal. OA journal article processing charges tend to be lower than those in hybrid OA journals, and we want to put more support towards the more sustainable price model.

  • 7. Will OA publishing cost less than the subscription model?

    OA publishing is not free, and we do not know how much scholarly publishing costs will change in the long run.  Some societies subsidize the costs of publishing their journals while other publishers charge an article processing charge ranging from a few hundred to several thousand U.S. dollars. We believe these fees will and should decrease as OA publishing increases and as publishers identify efficiencies in their processes.

    This fund is a pilot with monies from the UCSF Library and the California Digital Library to help UCSF authors publish in OA books and journals and to test OA as a sustainable model.