Conquering the World of Open Access:

Getting Your Research Funded and Compliant

By Melissa Wagner on Mar 15, 2021
working woman

As a researcher that is interested in publishing under open access (OA), you may face numerous challenges when trying to publish your research. This includes competing against thousands of other articles in your research area, finding funding to cover the OA article processing charge (APC), identifying a credible OA journal, meeting publisher guidelines, the endless peer review queue, and more. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is garnering OA funding; however, even once you overcome this hurdle, the challenge is not over, as you need to ensure your manuscript and the publication that you are submitting it to are in compliance with your OA funding body or institution.

Compliance refers to policies/mandates that an OA funding body stipulates that researchers must follow in order to receive funding for their Article Processing Charge (APC). These policies are put in place to ensure that OA research that is being published upholds the highest quality ethics, meets requirements for indexing and OA repositories, and is made immediately available to the OA community. Additionally, they can mirror the OA funding body’s mission or goals.

Funding Body Requirements and Criteria:

Various funding bodies have different criteria and requirements; however, whether you are publishing a journal article, book chapter, full journal, or book project, many funding bodies have policies on the following: 

  • Publication Type: There will likely be a mandate as to which type of publication the funding will cover. Typically, funders will specify whether there are funds available for journal article, book chapter, or full book publishing. Some may go even further to stipulate the type of manuscript (reviews, research articles, proceedings, etc.).
  • OA Model: Many funding bodies will stipulate which OA model is acceptable to publish under. Here, it is important to understand the different types of OA and to ensure that the journal selected for the research publishes under that type. The most common policies are to publish in Gold OA publications or Green OA publications, though Hybrid OA models may be allowed.
  • License Restrictions: They may allow the research to only be published under a specific license. Usually if this policy is in place, it is because the funder wants to ensure that the research is being published under one of the creative commons licenses that has more freedoms and less restrictions such as CC BY.
  • Ethical Considerations: All funding bodies will insist that funding only be used to support research that is included in publications that follow strict ethical publishing guidelines. Oftentimes this includes some type of mandatory peer review process.
  • Embargoes: Some funding bodies will only allow researchers to use their funding in journals that will immediately publish the work upon acceptance without any publisher embargo of any kind that would delay the timing of its free dissemination.
  • Indexing Restrictions: Indices can play a role in funding policies, particularly for journal article publishing. Oftentimes, the funder will require that the journal the researcher is submitting to be indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), thus ensuring that it is a credible and ethical publication. Other indices the funder requires can include Web of Science™ and Scopus®. On the book side, some funders may require that the book be submitted and accepted in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB).
  • Membership Restrictions: Rarer but still of note, some funding bodies may require that a journal or publisher is recognized/partnered with a specific association such as the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
  • Archiving/Preservation Requirements: Funding bodies may require that the publication’s content is archived or preserved. Oftentimes, the publication or publisher will note the type of archival system they use. For example, IGI Global uses CLOCKSS.
  • Repository Requirements: Some funding bodies will require that the publication be included in a specific OA repository upon completion and may have a limited amount of time by which the researcher must submit the published work for inclusion.

It is extremely important to review the list of criteria that your funding body requires because if your content or publication does not meet these requirements, they will not provide funding for your OA work. When determining whether the funding body has any OA policies or restrictions, there are sites that can support, including Sherpa Juliet, which is comprised of a searchable database of specific funders’ OA policies. Additionally, they offer the tool Sherpa Fact, where researchers can select their funding body and enter the journal of interest to see if they are compliant.

How IGI Global Supports Compliance and Mandates:

Understanding the importance of compliance, IGI Global strives to ensure that each of its publications follow the majority of funding bodies policies. Ways that IGI Global supports with compliance include:

  • Using the CC BY license.
  • Offering Gold, Green, and Hybrid OA models.
  • Offering chapter, article, and full book OA publishing.
  • No embargoes.
  • Archiving and preservation through CLOCKSS and LOCKSS.
  • Ethical publishing with a mandatory double-blind peer review process.
  • Full membership with the international Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
  • Indexing with prestigious indices including Web of Science™ and Scopus®.
  • Support with inclusion in specific OA repositories.
  • And more.

IGI Global welcomes the ability to work with researchers on questions they have about compliance, specialty requests on compliance and funding, and more.

Additional Funding Resources:

For researchers who are not sure where to begin when looking for funding opportunities, please find some helpful sources below:

  • Researcher’s Institution: Many institutions or university libraries already have or are setting up OA funds for their faculty to use. This information can oftentimes be found in a funding support section of the university’s webpage or by contacting the library directly.
  • Open Access Directory: This page lists some universities, research centers, foundations, and government agencies that have OA funds available, as well as some of the policies researchers must follow to use these entities for funding. View List>
  • SPARC: This is another list that houses institutions and university libraries that have OA funding available. The institutions included in this list are only from North America. View List>
  • Publisher-Institution OA Agreements: Some publishers have special OA funding partnerships set up with certain institutions. For example, IGI Global offers the OA Fee Waiver Initiative. For any library that invests in IGI Global's InfoSci®-Databases, IGI Global will match the library's investment with a fund of equal value to go toward subsidizing the Open Access APCs for their patrons. This provides authors with 100% OA subsidies to be utilized toward any IGI Global journal. Researchers can check with their libraries to determine if an agreement is in place and how much of the APC it will cover. Learn More>
  • Discounts for Low-and Middle-Income Countries: Some publishers have automatic discounts or fee waivers for researchers who are affiliated with certain countries. IGI Global automatically waives 100% or 50% of journal APCs depending on the author’s affiliated country. The full list of eligible countries is available here.

As always, IGI Global works hard to ensure that the research community is supported in their OA publishing endeavors. We welcome researchers to share information and requirements that they are being held to in regard to funding body policies, government restrictions, institutional mandates, etc.

Additionally, IGI Global offers 32 fully Gold OA journals, 140+ Hybrid OA journals, full OA book publishing, and OA chapter publishing. Should you be interested in publishing OA in one of these publications, please visit the OA Publishing Page or the OA Journals page for more information.

About IGI Global:  Founded in 1988, IGI Global, an international academic publisher, is committed to producing the highest quality research (as an active full member of the Committee on Publication Ethics “COPE”) and ensuring the timely dissemination of innovative research findings through an expeditious and technologically advanced publishing processes. Through their commitment to supporting the research community ahead of profitability, and taking a chance on virtually untapped topic coverage, IGI Global has been able to collaborate with over 100,000+ researchers from some of the most prominent research institutions around the world to publish the most emerging, peer-reviewed research across 350+ topics in 11 subject areas including business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, and more. To learn more about IGI Global, click here.

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