SFU Central Open Access Fund

Scholarly Publishing and Open Access plus a stylized book with the open access symbol

 Update: Recent changes to the SFU Central Open Access Fund

Beginning April 2024, there are significant changes to the SFU Central Open Access Fund guidelines. 

For details about new eligibility criteria and amounts, you can visit Learn more about changes to the SFU Central Open Access Fund.

The SFU Library Central Open Access Fund has been in place since 2010 to provide financial support for SFU authors to publish their work in open access journals. Since then, the open access publishing landscape has changed dramatically. 

In Fall 2023, SFU Library convened a task group to review the sustainability of the current model of the SFU Library Open Access Fund. Based on the task group's findings and recommendations and with the support of the Senate Library Committee, SFU Library will be phasing out the Open Access Fund over the next few years. The first step is to significantly change the eligibility and amounts awarded in order to reduce costs while still supporting early career researchers. The task group has also recommended the library and university prioritize and support open access infrastructure and models that are more sustainable and equitable.  These changes, outlined below, are effective as of April 2024.

To apply for funding to publish in an open access journal:

  1. Read the information below
  2. Complete the SFU Central Open Access Fund application form.

Description of the Fund

The SFU Central Open Access Fund (the Fund) supports SFU authors who wish to publish in Open Access (OA) journals and who are required to pay article processing charges (APCs).

The goals of the Open Access Fund are to:

  • Support authors who wish to publish and disseminate their research in an OA journal
  • Support authors in making the transition to OA publishing as a scholarly communication option
  • Offer equitable opportunities across campus disciplines
  • Reduce costs for publishing in OA journals

SFU encourages authors to choose OA avenues to disseminate their research either by archiving their work in a subject or institutional repository or by publishing in an open access journal. Funds are provided to help subsidize publication in OA journals which charge APCs.

Level of financial support

​​​​​​​Please note, the guidelines for the Open Access Fund have recently changed (effective April 2024).

Each eligible SFU author may receive the following support:

  • Support for up to one article in total: Eligible SFU authors may request support for one article in total (previously, applicants could receive an award annually).  
  • Support of up to $1250 (CDN) per article. Any amount over $1250 (CDN) will be the responsibility of the author.

For more information about the recent changes, please see Learn more about the changes to the SFU Central Open Access Fund.

Eligible applicants

  • The SFU author must be the submitting or corresponding author and must be an eligible SFU author as described below. If the submitting author is not an eligible SFU author at the time of submission the fund cannot be used.
  • Only SFU early career researchers are eligible: SFU students, staff, postdocs, adjuncts, assistant professors.
  • The article must be submitted while the author’s SFU affiliation is current.
  • Students who have recently graduated will be eligible to use the fund for articles submitted up to one year after the date listed on the approval page attached to their thesis.

Applicants are encouraged to exhaust other funding sources that can be used to pay for open access fees before applying to the Fund:

  • If an alternate funding source is available that permits payment of submission or publication fees, this source should be used before applying to the fund.
  • Note that open access fees are eligible expenses for Tri-Agency grants. See our tips and sample language for more information about requesting funds for open access costs in your grant applications.

All authors must also meet the following criteria:

  • Must confirm status of grant funds that could cover article processing charges (APCs) before drawing on the Open Access Fund.
  • The article must be the result of research completed as part of their work at SFU.
  • Affiliation with SFU must be included in the published article.
  • Allow the Library to deposit their published article in SFU’s research repository Summit.

Eligible publications

  • Authors are free to publish in the journal of their choice. This Fund covers only fees associated with open access publishing and does not cover additional charges beyond the basic APC, such as those charged for including colour plates, longer articles, submission fees, or excess page charges.
  • The Fund can be used to pay APCs in fully OA journals (aka Gold journals). That is, in which ALL of the journal content is freely available online immediately to the reader and includes download and reuse rights.
  • Eligible journals will be those in the Directory of Open Access Journals, or those whose editorial policies meet the criteria for inclusion in DOAJ

The Library has established memberships or direct invoicing arrangements with some of the most prominent open access publishers. If you submit an article to one of the publishers listed below, the library's membership arrangement will cover the article processing charges (to a maximum of $1250 CAD) if you are eligible.

The fund can cover article processing charges for book chapters, provided the entire publication is open access. Please contact digital-scholarship@sfu.ca with any questions if you intend to apply for funding to support an open access book chapter.

*Please note, larger publishers produce many journals with a range of editorial practices and standards. We recommend that authors assess journals individually before choosing to submit their work, regardless of the Library’s membership with a specific publisher. For information about assessing a journal, please see our Publishing Choices webpage on the Scholarly Publishing site.

Ineligible publications

  • Hybrid journals: subscription-based publications for which authors can pay an “open choice” fee to make their individual papers freely available to any reader. Although publishers claim to redirect the funds from these APCs to reduce the cost of subscriptions and licenses, there is insufficient evidence that this is actually happening.
  • Journals with embargoes limiting Open Access content for a specific time period after publication
  • Journals which require researchers to sign over copyright to their work
  • Journals where the total APCs (Article Processing Charges) for an article are over $3,500 CAD. This acknowledges that higher fees are not in line with the equity and inclusion principles of OA.

More information

Open Access publisher agreements and discounts 
Publisher discounts available to SFU authors for open access publishing.

For more information please contact: