Open Access Author Fee Fund FAQ

Unfortunately, the ULS Open Access Author Fee Fund is exhausted for the Fiscal Year 2022-2023. Authors in Cambridge, IOP, Company of Biologists, and American Chemical Society journals can continue to publish open access without fees through our transformative agreements. (Read more.) Please contact with any questions about the status of the fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this initiative needed?

Currently, most scholarly journals are supported through a combination of subscriptions and author fees for color images or page charges. Other scholarly publications, like monographs, are supported through increasingly high retail costs. If these publications are to convert to Open Access, they must be convinced that a steady stream of income from author fees is available. Our Author Fees Fund, along with publication subsidies from granting agencies, can help provide that assurance and promote Open Access.

Isn’t author self-archiving good enough?

Author self-archiving is becoming an important part of the scholarly communication process. Researchers can make their published work available in our institutional repository, D-Scholarship@Pitt, or a discipline-specific repository, such as PubMed Central, Scientific Commons, and MLA Commons Core. Most author self-archiving initiatives, however, post a different version of the research than journals.

Are authors being told where they can publish?

No. Authors are free to publish wherever they want. Your choice is only restricted if you're applying for our Author Fee Funds to support Open Access publication. If you wish to use ULS funds, then you must select a publication that complies with the program’s Requirements and Eligibility.

Can the Author Fee Fund be used to support the publication of formats other than journal articles such as Open Access book chapters?

Yes. The Author Fee Fund is available for other Open Access scholarly publications.

Who determines whether a journal is eligible?

Authors applying for Author Fee Funds must confirm that the journal complies with all eligibility requirements. You should evaluate the quality of the Open Access journal’s content and reputation, as well as the value of its services, in comparison to its fee schedule when deciding whether to place a manuscript with that journal, just as authors currently assess the quality of subscription-based journals. The final determination will be made by the ULS.

Who determines whether a book chapter is eligible?

Authors must confirm that the scholarly publication complies with all Author Fee Fund eligibility requirements. You should evaluate the quality of the Open Access publication’s content and reputation, as well as the value of its services, in comparison to its fee schedule when deciding whether to place a manuscript with that publisher. Final determination will be made by the ULS.

Who decides which applications are funded?

Funds are authorized on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming that all requirements have been met.

Can an author apply an unlimited number of times each year?

Yes, authors can apply to have as many eligible publications funded a year as are published. However, a single author cannot receive more than $3,000 from the fund per fiscal year.

What if a publication has authors from institutions other than the University of Pittsburgh?

All articles published by eligible Pitt authors in eligible Open Access publications will be fully funded regardless of whether or not the article is also authored by individuals outside of the University of Pittsburgh.

What fees are eligible?

Eligible charges can encompass some or all of the fees charged by a publisher for processing services, such as article publication fees proper, page charges, color illustration charges, and Open Access publication fees.

How do I get the waiver to publish OA in Cambridge journals?

This waiver is available to corresponding authors affiliated with Pitt or UPMC, and the article must be original research (research article, review article, rapid communication, brief report, or case report). Make sure to register your account in Cambridge’s online submission system using your Pitt e-mail address and enter University of Pittsburgh as your affiliation, and then select that you want to publish with an open access license. 

What happens if it is unclear as to whether or not a publisher meets the criteria?

This is possible. New Open Access publishers and programs are emerging and older programs are being revised. We will thoroughly investigate any unclear publisher policies before a decision is made. Contact us with questions by emailing

When will my author fee be paid to the publisher?

After we review and approve your application to the Author Fee Fund, we'll request that you provide an invoice from the publisher. To facilitate payments, please send us the invoice as soon as you receive it. We do our best to process invoices as quickly as possible. However, occasionally there are delays in the payment process that are outside our control and can take up to several months. Please send us all communications with the vendor about invoice payment.

Who decides other aspects of the fund’s implementation?

Implementation of the fund is handled by the ULS. All aspects of the policy, including the parameters of the payment calculation, will be reviewed and adjusted each year.

How do I know whether I'm eligible for funds?

You're an eligible author to apply for publication funds if you are faculty, staff, a postdoctoral associate, or student at the University of Pittsburgh and NOT in one of the six health sciences schools. If you're in one of the following six health sciences schools, you are not eligible for funds: Dental Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Public Health.