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Open access publishing and funding

Open access to information is the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research that is free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open access journals are available for nearly every area of research; a comprehensive list is found in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Our comprehensive open access guide has information about finding open access publishing opportunities.

Why open access?

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

Open access discounts for VCU authors

VCU Libraries 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 with paying these fees, thus minimizing the financial barrier to publishing in open access journals. 

The Open Access Publishing Fund is no longer accepting funding requests for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year. The budget for the fund has been exhausted and no additional funds are available this year. The VCU Libraries strongly supports the open access movement and we encourage faculty to continue to pursue publishing opportunities beyond commercial publishing.


VCU faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate and professional students who meet all of 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 AssociationHybrid 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. Collection librarians can assist you in selecting qualifying open access journals eligible for funding.
  • The work must be fully available immediately upon publication.
  • Agree and have the right 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 $3,000 per individual and $2,000 per article within a fiscal year.
  • In the case of multiple VCU authors on a single publication, total reimbursement cannot exceed the Publishing Fund's limit for a single article ($2,000).
  • The library will not fund author publishing fees already reimbursed through institutional, grant, 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. Payment may be made in one of two ways: 1) in the form of reimbursement of fees paid by personal credit card using VCU's Chrome River or by a department account or 2) directly to the publisher. 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, such as departmental funds or building the publishing fee into grant applications. 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!

For more information

Karen Cary, Head, Collection Analysis and Investment



VCU Libraries

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Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
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