Guest posting by Maureen Walsh and Melanie Schlosser

The week of October 20th is the eighth International Open Access Week, an annual educational event organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). This year University Libraries is using the week as an opportunity not only to raise awareness about open access (OA) on campus, but also to announce a new pilot project: the Open Access Fund for OSU Authors. (See Vice Provost and Director of Libraries’ Carol Diedrichs’ announcement at the conclusion of this post.)

First, some background on OA. The precise definition of open access is still a topic of debate, but it usually incorporates unrestricted access to and unrestricted use of scholarly literature. Put more simply, it means research made available online without paywalls, licensed for reuse.

In the 1990s, OA was envisioned as the self-archiving of research papers by their authors in open access repositories (“green” OA). The movement quickly grew to include completely OA journals (“gold” OA). Both methods are spontaneous, in that they are the result of a decision by the author at the time of publication to publish in an OA journal, or in a subscription journal that allows author self-archiving.

The last seven years have seen a more coordinated movement towards OA through faculty OA resolutions (including the OSU Libraries’ faculty OA resolution) and funder mandates. The past few years have seen even more momentum, as governments around the world began mandating public access to the results of publicly-funded research. Most public access mandates are still in the development stage, so their full impact can’t yet be determined, but the movement towards unrestricted public access to research continues to gain steam.

A common OA-related question we receive is in relation to campus-level support for OA publishing fees. Some — although by no means all — open access journals pay for the work of publication through Article Processing Charges (APCs) levied on authors. These are most common in fields where authors tend to have grant funding for their research, and many grantors allow applicants to include publishing funds in their grant budget.

Authors without grant support for APCs often turn to their home institution for help. While academic libraries are not in a position to completely fund OA publishing activity at the campus level, many have taken on the administration of such funds as a service to the university community and as part of their support for open access programs.

University Libraries is joining with Ohio State’s Health Sciences Library to launch a new pilot project supporting authors in this arena.

Maureen Walsh and Melanie Schlosser


University Libraries and the Health Sciences Library are collaborating on a pilot project addressing the issue Maureen and Melanie discussed—open access publishing fees.

The “Open Access Fund for OSU Authors” subsidizes processing fees of peer-reviewed articles authored or co-authored by OSU researchers published in eligible open access journals. Current Ohio State faculty, staff and enrolled students can apply.

Funding for publications that comply with the eligibility criteria will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The funds can be used to cover article publication charges (APCs) or open access fees for previously unpublished peer-reviewed articles, in fully open access journals where articles are made available immediately with no embargo period.

Awards are limited to a maximum of $1,000. Our two organizations have allocated a total of $20,000 toward the pilot, which will run until the fund has been exhausted. We will then evaluate the project and its impact.

I encourage authors who meet the criteria described to consider applying to the fund through the project website: Applications will be accepted beginning October 20.

–Carol Diedrichs