Open Access FAQ

What kind of support is available for UCSF authors who want to publish open access (OA) articles?

There are several types of discounts or funding support from the Library in place with numerous publishers:

  1. Transformative UC open access agreements with publishers provide funding support to UC corresponding authors to publish their scholarly articles open access. With most agreements, the UC Libraries automatically pay the first $1000 of the article processing charge (APC), and with some journals there's an APC discount. Authors with research funds pay any APC remainder and those without funds can request full funding from the Libraries. Check details for each publisher to find out which journals are covered.
  2. Discounts on and full funding for open access publishing are available with several publishers through either UC-wide or UCSF-only library agreements.
  3. UCSF’s Open Access Publishing Fund provides funding to student and staff authors in first author position who don’t have research funds for publishing articles in open access journals. Journals must not be part of a UC transformative agreement. Funding is also available to faculty and staff for open access book publishing.
Is there a list of all the journals with OA discounts or funding support?

We don’t have a comprehensive title list at this time since the agreements are with so many different publishers.  See the Discounts & Funding for Open Access Publication page for a comprehensive list of publishers and which of their journals are included. There are lists of which Elsevier journals and Springer Nature (see 'Eligible journals' download at bottom left) journals are included in the UC agreements.

Are authors required to publish all articles open access now? What if I’m an investigator with research funds but don’t want to use my funds to pay for OA publishing?

All UC authors have the academic freedom to publish where they wish and to choose either the traditional/paywalled option or the open access option. The default option for UC authors of scholarly articles with publishers we have transformative OA agreements with is open access. If the journal is a hybrid subscription/OA journal, you can opt out of the OA model and publish your article under the traditional model, which restricts readership to subscribers or pay-per-article access.

There is a wide range of open access journals with different fee levels for you to consider, and there are also OA journals that do not charge any fees. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a trusted resource for fully OA journals.

You can also make the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) version of articles published under a subscription model freely available per UC’s open access policies. See 'Do authors have other options for making their work open access' below. 

My article has been accepted for publication by Elsevier, BMC, PLOS or another publisher with a transformative UC publishing agreement. How do I get the $1000 subvention or full coverage from the Library for my article?

Directly through the publisher’s manuscript submission and payment system. There is no need to apply for funds through the UCSF Open Access Publishing Fund. The publisher bills the UC Libraries centrally through their platform for all articles with a UC corresponding author. Find details about how each publisher agreement works.

How does the Library have the budget to pay for OA publishing?

Payments to publishers for ‘transformative’ OA agreements are transforming our payment from exclusively reading/subscription access to a combination of publishing and reading fees. The amount the UC Libraries pays the publisher is controlled and negotiated in advance. It is based on substantial cost modeling that includes a $1000 subvention paid by the Libraries for all articles, and the balance of the charge being paid either by authors with research grants or by the Libraries when authors do not have research funds (see How does the agreement work? for the Cambridge UP deal). 

Do authors have other options for making their work open access besides paying the publisher?

Yes, if you choose not to publish your article open access in the journal itself (gold OA), you can make it publicly available by depositing the pre-publication author’s accepted manuscript in eScholarship instead per UC’s open access policies (green OA). Read more about gold and green OA

In addition, there are many quality open access journals that charge no or low fees for publishing OA. These journals are subsidized by library or institutional memberships, societies, or funders. Use the Directory of Open Access Journals to search for trusted OA journals. 

How can I tell if a journal is reputable?

See our recommendations for evaluating unfamiliar journals and conferences to assess a journal's trustworthiness, and see steps to finding the right journal for publication.

Check journals that are fully open access in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Visit our Open Access Publishing page for more information or to connect with a scholarly communication expert.  

Have more questions? Contact us