Open Publishing Support Fund


The Open Publishing Support Fund (OPSF) improves access to research produced at the University of Tennessee and is co-sponsored by the Office of Research and Engagement and the University Libraries.

The OPSF can:

  • enable authors to retain their copyrights.
  • accelerate the online availability of peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles generated by UT researchers.
  • raise campus awareness about the benefits of open access.
  • cover article processing charges (APCs) levied by peer-reviewed open access journals.

Before you apply, please read through the guidelines below.

Notice: There are new guidelines for 2022-23. Please read through this page carefully.

Update: As of October 1, funds awarded in 2022-23 total $37,000.

Eligibility Guidelines

Publication Requirements

  • Manuscript must already be accepted by a journal in order to apply.
  • Manuscript must be accepted by fully-open (not select-open) peer-reviewed journals that are:
  • Journals that make only selected articles open access (select-open, open-optional, or hybrid open access) are not eligible for funding.
  • Application must be submitted within three months of date on publisher invoice.


  • Funding maximum: $1800 per request. The applicant is responsible for funds above this amount. Exception: Support for open access books will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Only two (2) OPSF awards per research lab per year. If not a member of a research lab, authors may apply for funds more than once per year, but should submit separate applications.
  • A graduate student may seek funding once per fiscal year for articles solely authored by graduate student(s).
  • Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. When the annual allocation is exhausted, no additional funds will be available until the following fiscal year.

Additional Funding Options

The Libraries participate in subscribe-to-open, community-action publishing, or other related agreements with a growing list of publishers. As a result, UTK authors pay no APCs with several publishers, including:

  • International Water Association (IWA)
  • Microbiology Society
  • PeerJ
  • PLOS

See the Libraries’ full list of Open Access Investments for a list of journals and/or publishers with waived, reduced, or other discounted open access fee agreements via Libraries agreements, and directions on how to apply.

Applying for the Open Publishing Support Fund

  • Applicants must have funding available to cover any fees in excess of $1800.
  • Applicants with external funding should exhaust external funds before applying for the OPSF.
  • Applicant must verify that they meet “Publication Requirements” as listed above.
  • Requests for funding should be made immediately after an article is accepted for publication.
  • Application must be submitted within three months of date on publisher invoice.
  • Application must be submitted by UT faculty members or research staff. Exception: Any UT-enrolled graduate student may receive funds once annually for an article solely authored by graduate student(s).
    • If UT author is corresponding author and also UT faculty or research staff, the corresponding author must submit the application.
    • If UT author is corresponding author and also a graduate student, with at least one co-author that is UT faculty or research staff, then a UT faculty or research staff co-author must submit the application.
    • If the corresponding author is not at UT, a UT faculty or research staff co-author should submit the application, to facilitate tracking of funding beneficiaries.
  • Applicant must identify their affiliated research lab, if applicable.
  • Applicant is responsible for asking the publisher about UT institutional discounts and requesting a waiver or reduction of charges from the publisher before applying for open publishing support. See the section below, “Request the Publisher to Waive or Reduce Charges,” for more information.

Request the Publisher to Waive or Reduce Charges

Applicants should check the Open Access Investments list from UT Libraries. This list gives authors instructions on how to apply for discounts and waivers with select publishers with which UT Libraries has an open access agreement.

If there are no existing discounts or waivers for which UT authors are eligible, ask the publisher if UT or you, as an individual, are eligible for other reduced fees. Society publishers often have discounts for authors who are society members. Some publishers will waive the fees for those who are first-time authors in a new journal. Others provide discounts for graduate student authors.

Note: With BMC and SpringerOpen, authors are advised to look for the “APC Agreement” section (or the payment options page) in the initial online submission process and select the option for “institutional discount,” rather than agreeing to pay the full amount of the article processing charge (APC). If the institutional discount option was not selected upon submission, authors are advised to contact Springer Nature to have the discount applied before their invoice is issued.

If you have asked the publisher, and checked the Libraries’ list of available waivers and discounts, and no discounts can be applied, state that in the appropriate field in the application form.


  • UT Libraries will review applications, determining whether applications meet requirements and follow limitations. (ORIED co-sponsors the fund with UT Libraries but is no longer involved in the approval process.)
  • Approval notices will be sent to applicant and applicant’s business office representative.
  • Publisher invoices will be paid by the applicant’s department/college.
  • Approved applications will lead to reimbursement of the applicant’s affiliated department/college for up to $1,800 per article.


Email the UT Libraries:


Ready to Apply?

Find the SARIF: Open Publishing Support Fund in the UT InfoReady portal.


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