Princeton University Library launches fund to help underwrite Princeton researchers' fees to publish in open access publications

Open Access

In an effort to further support open access to scholarship and research, Princeton University Library (PUL) has launched the Princeton Open Access Publication Fund, which will help underwrite fees for Princeton students, faculty, and staff to publish in Open Access (OA) publications. 

Open access refers to the practice of making information, scholarship, and research freely available online, a movement in which PUL has been a leader, according to Scholarly Communications Librarian Yuan Li who leads the initiative for the fund and other open access resources at Princeton.

“PUL supports open access in a number of ways. It supports at the end point: We buy subscriptions, we buy journals, and we buy books. We provide access to the users. . . The Library will now provide support to the author [as well]. We are of the position that we provide as much help and support as we can to give access to the information, no matter if it’s from the user's end or from the production point. It’s all about access to the information and information sharing,” she said. 

The Princeton Open Access Publication Fund aims to break down a financial barrier in place for Princeton authors, particularly those from underrepresented groups such as graduate students, junior faculty, and researchers in the humanities and social sciences. In traditional publishing, payment happens at the end point; subscribers pay to access content. This created a financial barrier for readers. OA publications recently flipped the model and instead require authors to pay in order to publish. It similarly creates a financial barrier for authors. 

Applications for the fund will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Princeton faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, researchers, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff who have no other funding sources such as research grants, departmental funding, or funding from third parties are eligible to apply and may receive up to $3,000 per year. The Center for Digital Humanities will also co-fund applicants publishing materials related to the humanities. 

“For authors, there are different funding streams,” said Li. “Some authors will be able to pay out of funding grants. Some funding agencies will be able to cover the whole, or part of the, cost. Sometimes, the institutions, like departments, will pay but it varies. But there are a lot of authors from underrepresented groups, particularly students and junior faculty, that would have no access to those funds and will have to pay out of pocket. That becomes a big barrier, especially for students who might not be able to afford it at all.”

Beyond providing greater access to users and authors, PUL also provides financial support to a number of open access initiatives like SCOAP3, arXiv, Knowledge Unlatched, and the South Asia Open Archives. The Library is also a member of open access publishers like BMC/Springer Open, MDPI, so that Princeton authors receive a discount when they publish. 

Read a full Q&A with Li, or to learn more about scholarly communications and open access, visit the Scholarly Communications website

Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Library Communications Specialist and Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications