Princeton Open Access Fund expands for 2020-21 fiscal year

Following a successful first run at supporting open access to scholarship, Princeton University Library’s (PUL) Princeton Open Access Publication Fund expanded its budget to $50,000 for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Established in December 2019, the fund underwrites fees for Princeton students, faculty, and staff to publish in open access (OA), peer-reviewed research journals and books. This fund assists Princeton authors by removing financial barriers to publication, and provides readers with unencumbered access to academic research. These publications are made freely accessible online, further promoting the University and Library’s commitment to scholarship, research, and creative output across the academic community.

According to Scholarly Communications Librarian Yuan Li, the initiative was incredibly well received when it debuted, and managed to deplete the original $30,000 dollars of funding by May 2020.

“We started this program because we saw a need, and after the consideration of the data we gathered and the interests and demands on campus, the Library decided to renew this program,” said Li. “The first time we ran this, we did so on a pilot basis. Now, we really want people to know that they can access this fund if they need it.”

In October 2020, PUL participated in OA Week, a global event established by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) that highlighted the benefits and opportunities of open access. During the week, PUL’s programming included a panel presentation about OA during COVID-19, as well as introductory panels and discussions about how current faculty, students, and staff can make the most of OA resources. 

Li attributes the growth of the fund in part to the efforts of PUL’s subject librarians. “At least one-third of the applicants came to us because the subject librarians referred them to the fund,” Li said. “I think they are doing a really good job of informing their students and faculty about this fund.”

Scholars interested in accessing funds can visit the Princeton Open Access Publication Fund website to apply. 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, which Li noted is usually enough to cover most OA journals’ publication charge.

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

Written by: Brandon Johnson, Library Communications Specialist and Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications