The University of Minnesota Open Access Publishing Fund was a joint project of the University Libraries and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The following is the full text of the original proposal approved by the University Senate in 2012:

The Senate Library Committee proposed that University of Minnesota establish an institutional fund to underwrite University of Minnesota authors’ costs in making their published works openly accessible. The fund will be supported by both the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the University Libraries, and will be overseen by a review panel comprised of sponsors with faculty guidance from an Open Access Subcommittee of the Senate Library Committee. Proposals will be reviewed only to determine if they meet the eligibility criteria listed below with no consideration being given to the content of the manuscript. The fund will cover all scholars on all campuses.

The Senate Library Committee advanced the following standards and principles in allocating funds.

Eligible submissions

  • Funds are available for peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly monographs, conference proceedings, and data sets.
  • Funds may be used only to cover open access publication and submission fees.
  • Author fees for open access journals (as determined by listing in the Directory of Open Access Journals, membership in the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, or adherence to Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association Code of Conduct) will be covered in full. Author fees for “hybrid” journals will be covered up to 50%.
  • Funds may not be used for publications that do not make works fully openly available immediately upon publication. Author eligibility
  • All scholars (faculty, researchers, post-docs, graduate students, and staff) at the University of Minnesota may apply for funds for their publications that otherwise qualify.
  • Authors receiving funds must deposit a copy of the publication in an approved open access repository, such as the University Digital Conservancy (the University of Minnesota’s institutional repository) or a recognized discipline repository (e.g., arXiv, AgEcon, PubMedCentral, etc.)
  • In the case of joint authorship, support for author fees will be pro-rated based on the proportional contribution of the University of Minnesota.


Effects of external fund availability (grants, etc.)

  • Authors with no external funding associated with the publication will be given priority, but authors who have external funding that cannot be used to underwrite open access fees will also be eligible. Fees occurring after the closure of a grant are eligible.
  • Authors who could have applied for grant coverage of open access fees but failed to do so will not usually be eligible for institutional open access support, unless their grant application was made before the institutional open access fund existed.
  • The fund will be established at $20,000 per year of available support to authors, distributed on a rolling basis. The program’s support levels and effectiveness should be evaluated as funds are exhausted or at the end of two years, whichever occurs sooner.

In 2014, the Senate Library Committee reviewed the program, and recommended that it be continued, with a few minor alterations.

The initial pilot project was reviewed and approved for renewal, and reopened for applications on 3/31/15.

Due to rapid outflow of funds, fund coordinators in the Libraries and OVPR consulted with the Senate Library Committee in March and April of 2016 about possible options to limit spending. After much deliberation, it was determined that "hybrid" access publications, in which articles are normally only available to subscribers, but may be made openly available upon payment of an additional fee, would no longer be eligible for support. They had previously only been eligible for limited (up to 50% of the fee, capped at $2000) support. These changes were implemented when the fund was reopened for applications in July of 2016.

Average fees continued to increase, making it increasingly challenging to distributed funds equitably. At the same time, a variety of alternative approaches to these and related issues developed, some of which could provide access to many more publications with the same base level of funding. After consultation with University governance groups including faculty members and graduate students, it was determined that the Open Access Publishing Fund would close permanently when allocated funding ran out in fiscal year 2019, and not be subsequently re-funded.

Questions or comments about open access issues at the University of Minnesota, and in general, can be directed to