UCSF Open Access Publishing Fund

UCSF Open Access Fund

The UCSF Open Access Publishing Fund helps cover open access publication fees for faculty who do not have grant or other funds available to cover them. It is funded by the UCSF Academic Senate and implemented by the Library.

The goals of this program are to:

  • Foster greater dissemination of the work of UCSF scholars.
  • Encourage author control of copyright.
  • Provide opportunities for librarians, faculty, and other scholars to engage in discussion about open access publishing models and wider scholarly communication topics.
  • Demonstrate an institutional commitment to open access publishing models.

See Eligibility & Guidelines and apply for funding

Frequently Asked Questions


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

    Open access (OA) addresses the desire to make research results publicly accessible. OA literature is digital, online, free for all to read immediately upon publication, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Others can 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.

    Open access does not mean that a publication has not been peer-reviewed. See below for details.

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

    While not all OA journals charge a publishing fee, many of those that interest UCSF authors do. Memberships and subscriptions through the UC Libraries provide UC authors discounts on OA journal article processing charges (APCs; see this chart for details). This fund goes further by helping cover more, if not all, of the publication charges for authors who do not have another source of funding. Sources for OA book publishing are also on the rise, so the fund helps defray those costs as well.

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

    Open access publishing is a business and access model that is entirely compatible with peer-review. An OA publication's peer review process should be judged by exactly the same criteria as any subscription publication. Many publishers now have an OA option for individual articles, and these articles undergo the same peer review process. Some publishers are now using open peer review to increase transparency.

  • 4. How do authors distinguish the good OA publications 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, and other trusted metrics of quality. See this page for tools to help assess the quality and reputation of an unknown publication.

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

    The UCSF Open Access Policy is what's called green open access. It allows Academic Senate faculty to deposit final manuscripts of their published articles into an OA repository such as eScholarship. No payment to the publisher is required to exercise the rights outlined in the policy. This fund helps pay gold OA charges - these are payments required to publish an article on the publisher's platform under a Creative Commons license. The license typically secures broad rights for the author, including the use and sharing of the final publisher PDF of their article. See this page for more information on green and gold OA.

  • 6. Who is providing the funds for this project?

    The UCSF Academic Senate is providing the funds for this project, which is effective as of May 1, 2015. A previous pilot ran from December 2012 - 2014 with monies from the UCSF Library and the California Digital Library. That pilot was successful, resulting in the fund being put on hold when the budget was fully allocated.

  • 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 under an OA model. 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 need to decrease as publishers improve operational efficiency. A major project run by the California Digital Library and UC Davis is underway to explore OA publishing costs and to help publishers build a sustainable business model.