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Open Access

Contact for assistance with questions regarding open access

Fees Associated with Publishing Open Access

Open access does not inherently mean an author has to pay to publish. There are many paths to making a work open access. Meet with your librarian to learn more. Here are some common models below.

Gold Open Access

Many Brown University faculty and students seek to publish open access so that readers across the globe can freely access and read their research and scholarship. However, some open access journals/publishers require authors to pay a fee to support this model. For example, the "Gold" and "Hybrid" Open Access models, which make content immediately open, commonly charge authors a publication fee (e.g., article processing charge (APCs) to publish open access and for authors to retain copyright and assign a license for the public to access and reuse their work. These fees can commonly range from several hundred to several thousand dollars for a journal article or chapter (and even higher for monographs). At this time, Brown University and the University Library do not have any specific program that funds faculty or students' open access publication fees. The University encourages authors to seek financial assistance from their departments as well as seek external funding. While many Brown researchers do publish in open access journals or with open access publishers, the publication fees are usually charged to an external grant instead of paid out-of-pocket by the authors. For example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) both allow for researchers to budget for and charge publication fees to their awards. Brown researchers without external funds can search for external funding opportunities using the SPIN database provided by Brown’s Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), available at or visit the University Library's Find Funding Guide. In cases when the above options have been exhausted, inquire if the journals/publishers have a discount/waiver policy.

Green Open Access (Self-Archiving)

In cases when authors do not have an external grant or other internal funding to pay the fees for a Gold/Hybrid Open Access publication, another option for making your publication open access is "Green Open Access" (self-archiving). Green Open Access is when a researcher has the permission from the journal/publisher (or the journal/publisher has a policy) allowing authors to make a version of their manuscript open access. For example, many journals allow authors to freely post online the pre-peer reviewed version of their manuscript, called a pre-print, and/or the final post-peer reviewed author manuscript (e.g., this is the same version of a manuscript that one finds on PubMed Central (PMC)) by permitting the author to upload the manuscript to a personal website and an institutional repository (IR) and/or other non-commercial repositories. The Brown Digital Repository (BDR) is Brown University's institutional repository. Commonly journals that allow authors to self-archive and post these manuscripts online require authors to wait a short period of time after publication before self-archiving and making them open access, called an embargo period; the period is typically 12 months. A good resource for researching a journal's Green Open Access/Self-archiving policy is the SHERPA/RoMEO database. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) offers an online addendum form for authors to adapt and fill out to request permissions such as self-archiving to share with their journal/publisher, before signing the author publication and copyright agreement. The online form is available for download from: Authors receiving permission to self-archive can then deposit the manuscript in the BDR using the upload tool available at or by contacting the BDR at for assistance.

Brown University Memberships Providing Open Access Publishing Discounts

  • Brown University community members currently receive a 15% discount on publication fees charged to authors by BioMed Central (BMC) and SpringerOpen. Read more at 
  • Brown has an institutional fellowship with BMJ Case Reports. Faculty, staff, and students do not have to pay individual fellowship fees when submitting case reports to the journal. Contact open@brown to get the fellowship code for free submission.