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Open Access

What is the Open Access Publications Fund?

Open Access means free and unlimited access to scholarly information. An open access business model relies on the article processing charges (APCs) charged by the publisher for open access publication. These APCs may be covered by the author, the author’s institution or by a research funder.

Authors aiming to publish in open access journals have access to assistance with APCs in various ways.

  • Authors can check whether their institution has arrangements with publishers which might entitle them to waivers or discounts on APCs. The University of the Free State, for example, has an agreement with Karger Publishers, where our subscription to Karger content includes vouchers to publish in Karger’s open access journals.
  • Authors can request payment for APCs from their research funder, budgeted for in their funding application, especially since many funding organisations have now adopted policies that make open access mandatory. The SHERPA Juliet database has information about funders’ open access requirements.
  • An Open Access publications fund might be available at the author’s institution.

The Library and Information Services (LIS) now provides funding via an Open Access Publications Fund (OAPF) for eligible researchers, subsidising up to R25 000 of APCs levied by open access publishers per article. Researchers can apply for support from this fund when other funding sources, such as research grants or publishers/institution agreements, are not available.

A few notes on the funding process:

  • The fund is limited and there is no guarantee that every application will be successful.
  • Authors may apply on/before submission of their article to a journal. Funds will be reserved for a reasonable period*. Upon receipt of the invoice, the fund's contribution will be transferred to the relevant faculty/department/unit/research incentive entity (in the 23 to 43 range). 
  • The fund covers fees associated with open access publishing only and does not cover additional charges beyond the APC. Such charges should be met by the author or funder.
  • The fund will give preference to interdisciplinary research.

*A reasonable period could vary between disciplines and publications. If, after six months, additional time is needed by an author, communication between the author and publisher as proof of a still active article submission process may be submitted to the OAPF to extend the period for reservation of funds.

Who may apply?

Eligible authors are all faculty academic staff and researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and postgraduate students (only when publishing in collaboration with permanent academic staff at the University faculty members). Research fellows are excluded at this time. Authors from non-academic divisions publishing as UFS affiliates may also apply.

Important: An authors’ affiliation with the University of the Free State must be indicated in the final publication.

Eligible journals

  • Journals must be an accredited and fully open access journal on the DHET list of accredited journals. The LIS will provide advice, guidance and support in the identification of eligible, high impact open access journals.
  • The journal’s archiving policy should allow the deposit of a version of the article in the University institutional repository, KovsieScholar. SHERPA RoMEO has information on archiving policies. Send us your article for deposit.
  • Journals with delayed open access or a hybrid open access model are not eligible. Open access should be immediate on publication of the article.

Need help in identifying a reputable and accredited open access journal? Let us know. Also take a look at our guide on publishing in Open Access.

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