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Open access publishing and funding

Open access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open access journals are available for nearly every area of research. A comprehensive list is found in the Directory of Open Access Journals. For help with identifying and evaluating open access publications, contact the library liaison or collections librarian of your subject area, or the Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Update on Hindawi funding: Hindawi is discontinuing its institutional membership program that has provided free publishing for VCU authors. Any manuscript submitted to Hindawi by August 31, 2019 will still be covered under the current VCU institutional membership.

Why open access?

  • Satisfies requirement of many public and private funding agencies that require researchers to make articles open access.
  • Promotes accelerated discovery, allowing researchers to read and build on findings without restriction.
  • Encourages new forms of scholarly communication.
  • Provides an alternative to high-cost, unsustainable commercial publishing.

Open Access Publishing Fund

VCU Libraries' Open Access Publishing Fund supports the publication of research articles in peer-reviewed journals that are available to all on the web without charge. Some open access journals charge author fees to cover costs of peer review and other services common to all scholarly journals. The Open Access Publishing Fund helps pay these fees, thus minimizing the financial barrier to publishing in open access journals.


VCU faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate and professional students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for funds:

  • Author of a peer-reviewed journal article already accepted for publication at the time of applying for funding support.
  • The journal must be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals or be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. Hybrid journals (such as subscription-based journals that make some articles open access only after the author pays a fee) are not funded, even if listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The work must be fully available immediately upon publication.
  • Have the right and agree to upload the published work to the VCU institutional repository, VCU Scholars Compass after publication.


  • Funding will continue until funds are exhausted for the fiscal year.
  • Maximum funding is $2,000 per individual within a fiscal year.
  • Publications are funded up to $1,000 per article.
  • In the case of multiple VCU authors on a single publication, total reimbursement cannot exceed the Publishing Fund's $1,000 limit for a single article. The library will not fund author publishing fees already reimbursed through institutional or other funding sources.
  • In the case of publications with both VCU authors and authors from other institutions, a prorated amount based on the work of the VCU author will be funded.

Funding administration

You will be notified of the funding decision, usually within two weeks of your application.

Upon acceptance for funding, the Open Access Publishing Fund manager will contact you about payment, which is made through departmental transfer. A copy of the publisher’s invoice is required to authorize payment.

Because a limited amount of money is available to support this program, the VCU Libraries encourages authors to also pursue other funding sources, including departmental funds. Researchers are encouraged to include a request for publication funds when applying for grants. If the grant agency does not support the full cost of publication, the VCU Libraries will support the difference in publishing fees up to the limits per individual and article above. Alternative funding sources means that the library can continue to support those authors who have limited options to pay publishing fees. Thank you for your cooperation!

Apply for Open Access Publishing Fund now »

Karen Cary, Head, Collection Analysis and Investment


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