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Open Access journal publishing fees

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    Hello everyone,

    Do any of the schools you work at have a budget to help defray the cost of open access publishing fees? SPH does not, at either the departmental or admin level. One of our professors asked me about this recently and in the event of a faculty advocacy effort, I told her I’d gather evidence from other CUNY campuses.

    Thanks for your help,
    Rosemary Farrell, MA, MLS
    Instructor, Reference Librarian
    CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
    55 West 125th Street
    Room 704
    New York, NY 10027<>

    Michael Kahn

    A faculty member asked me the same thing. I’ve been told CUNY does not pay for OA processing fees.

    Michael Kahn, MLS, MSW
    Instruction and Open Resources Librarian
    Bronx Community College
    North Hall and Library, Room 259
    2155 University Avenue, Bronx, NY 10453
    718 289 5100 ext. 5220


    Hi Rosemary,

    Great question. To the best of my knowledge, none of the CUNY campuses have funds for covering article processing charges (APCs) for open access articles. I have heard stray anecdotes about individual faculty around CUNY getting the fee paid by their department or dean or provost, but I believe those stories are very much the exception…and quite possibly a thing of the past, given the state of campus budgets in recent years. When CUNY authors pay an APC, I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of the time it’s paid from a grant they’ve received. (If anyone has a counterexample from their campus, please let us know!)

    For what it’s worth, some institutions that have started APC funds have subsequently shut them down, typically for being unsustainable and/or inequitable, I believe. This article from College & Research Libraries News discusses the creation and closure of the APC fund at Johns Hopkins. (See additional comment below.)

    When faculty reach out to me asking about funds for paying an APC, I tell them that there aren’t funds available but then add something like: “That said, don’t despair! There is still a path to making your article publicly accessible, even if you don’t publish through the publisher’s official open access program”…and then go on to report what I found in Sherpa Romeo regarding the public sharing policy of the journal in question, as well as information about posting to Academic Works. (Of course, this “don’t despair” line only works for subscription-based journals with an APC option, not for fully OA journals with APCs, where authors typically can’t avoid the fee. Most OA journals with APCs allow authors to apply for fee waivers, but typically the waivers aren’t available to researchers from high-income countries.)

    If you’d ever like to see a full example of an email along these lines, I’d be happy to share. (I’m also happy to help decode Sherpa Romeo results, which can be tricky to understand sometimes.)

    Additional comment about OA and equity, certainly not directed at the faculty member you spoke with, just something for all of us at CUNY libraries to chew on: OA journals with APCs remove the barrier to read a work, which is certainly a good thing, but they then replace it with a barrier to publishing, locking many researchers out of participating in the conversation. But then…what’s the alternative? One is for libraries/institutions to move funds from subscriptions and/or APCs to investment in “diamond open access” initiatives (i.e., those with no fees for readers or authors), such as Open Library of Humanities, Open Access Community Investment Program, Subscribe to Open, and others. Another is for more academic libraries/institutions to offer publishing services. I just checked the Directory of Open Access Journals, and 67% of the journals are APC-free. Granted, many of them are smaller, lower-profile operations. And it certainly seems that most of the OA journals on our researchers’ radars are APC-charging ones…

    OK, rant over! I hope this helps!


    Thank you Jill, this is extremely helpful. This particular faculty member has paid fees in the past out of grant money. I believe it is becoming harder to do so as the costs add up. There are also students involved in the research and as authors of these papers, who are obviously not expected to contribute money towards fees. I’ll read the article you shared. This issue is definitely a part of a larger discussion.

    Rosemary Farrell, MA, MLS
    Instructor, Reference Librarian
    CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
    55 West 125th Street
    Room 704
    New York, NY 10027<>

    From: Jill Cirasella (LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable) <>
    Sent: Thursday, February 1, 2024 6:45 PM
    To: Rosemary Farrell <>
    Subject: Re: Open Access journal publishing fees

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