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Open Access Publishing Fund

University Libraries supports Open Access publishing

NEW: The Open Access Publishing Fund is now exhausted for FY2023 and will no longer be accepting applications. For the future of the Fund, please see here.


George Mason University, through the University Libraries, will provide financial support to Mason scholars and researchers who wish to publish their work in open access (OA) journals. Faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and registered graduate students are eligible to apply to Mason's Open Access Publishing Fund (OAPF) for assistance with article processing fees required by some OA  journals. Further information on eligibility can be found on the OAPF guidelines. Once the funds have been expended, we will curtail the program for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Once a manuscript has been accepted, and prior to its actual publication in an open access journal, the author can complete the fund application form. Applicants will be notified of funding approval and payment will be made directly to the publisher. The OAPF will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, concluding for the fiscal year once all of the funds have been awarded.

This guide is very brief, but it is important that anyone considering applying for OAPF funding read the entire guide for important information about author and journal eligibility, invoicing requirements, payment procedures, and other considerations before filling out the application form.




About the Fund

Most open access (OA) publications do not require payment because the host institution or society absorbs the burden of cost. However, one OA business model currently practiced shifts some costs of publication from the end-user (i.e. reader) or an intermediary (i.e., the subscription model) to the creator (i.e., author). In this model, access to online articles is free of pay barriers to readers, and so qualifies as “open access” content.¹ Users may print-out or electronically share these articles without payment to or permission from the copyright holder. However, it creates a barrier to publication for authors.

The University Libraries offers financial support to eligible members of the Mason community to offset costs of publishing in scholarly OA journals that charge author fees (Article Processing Charges or APCs). The Open Access Publishing Fund at Mason supports four broad goals:

  1. To encourage publication in scholarly open access journals.
  2. To reduce financial barriers to scholarly research,
  3. To disseminate scholarship produced at George Mason University as widely and quickly as possible, and
  4. To foster research and artistic collaboration among and between scholars at Mason and throughout the world.

Questions? Contact the Open Educational Resources and Scholarly Communications Librarian ( 

What is "Open Access"

“Open access,” as defined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, means “free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Important Exclusions

Researchers who receive grants that permit monies to be allocated for open access publication will not receive support from the OAP Fund (check ROARMAP to learn more about your funder’s policy). See more in the "Grant-Funded Projects" tab at the left.

Articles appearing in 'hybrid' publications (wherein an author pays a fee to provide open access to an article in a fee-based, subscription journal) are ineligible for OAPF awards.  See more in the "Where to publish" tab at the left.