Who pays for Open Access

Published on
January 31, 2012

More and more scientific publications are becoming available in Open Access. Wageningen UR is one of the frontrunners within the Netherlands in this area. However, Open Access is not necessarily synonymous with "free". Where production costs and dissemination in the classical publication model are billed to the user, i.e. the Library, these costs in the Open Access model are mainly borne by the authors and producing institutions. The costs for production, review and dissemination are charged when the article is accepted. For some authors, these Open Access Fees create a budgetary problem.

However, there are different ways to ensure that the publication costs don’t come as a surprise at the end of a research project. Some research financers such as the NWO not only require that publications become available as quickly as possible in Open Access, but they are also prepared to finance the costs for Open Access. Other research financers, however, have no well-defined policy in this area, but they are quite sympathetic when it comes to Open Access.

What does this mean for researchers

  • Make a line item in your project budget for publication costs. This is already being done for research reports at Wageningen UR. The Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation is a particularly large supporter of open knowledge flow. For scientific articles, the average costs per article are about € 1250.00.
  • For the NWO projects, you can get reimbursed a maximum of € 5000 in Open Access Fees per approved project. Go to the NWO website for the complete terms.
  • When submitting a research proposal, check if the financier in question has Open Access requirements and take those into consideration when setting up the project's budget. On the website you can find an up-to-date overview of research financiers that require Open Access and their reimbursement policies.
  • If the abovementioned steps don’t help, you can always apply to the Open Access Fund that the Library makes available each year. In 2012, the Library has € 50,000 that authors can apply for. The fund will cover a maximum of 50% of the costs of an Open Access publication, but these are distributed on afirst come first servebasis. What do you have to do for the funds?The corresponding author pays the publisher's invoice and then sends a copy of the invoice with a billing number to Of course, the reimbursement is only for the Wageningen authors’ portion in the publication in question.For Biomed Central journals, the Library is automatically invoiced 50% of the Open Access Fee and Wageningen authors receive a 15% discount. For the complete terms and for requests, please contact Aquila Weijers.

(newsletter 1-2012)