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SOAR Fund Guidelines

“Supporting Open Access Research” (SOAR) Fund 
at University of Massachusetts Amherst

(SOAR Fund at UMA)

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMA) Supporting Open Access Research (SOAR) Fund underwrites reasonable article-processing fees for open access journals when funds are not otherwise available. The fund is supported by the University Libraries, which initially contributed $25,000 for FY 2014-2015 and have subsequently contributed $10,000 each fiscal year.

The goals of the UMA SOAR Fund are to:

  • build innovative models of scholarly publishing, in particular publications that are not supported by subscription revenue models or user-access fees;
  • increase access to research and scholarship from UMA; and
  • support UMA faculty, students, and staff who choose to publish in open-access journals but lack other sources of funding for article processing fees.



Authors with a manuscript accepted in the current fiscal year for publication in an eligible journal or venue may:

  • apply for funds by submitting an application;
  • providing documentation of the peer review and acceptance;
  • and proof of payment of the article page charge. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) until funds are fully expended.



Up to $1200 in UMA SOAR funding per applicant may be available annually for:

  • Any current UMA faculty member, post-doctoral researcher, staff member, or graduate student author
  • who has no other source of funding for open access publication charges,  
  • to cover up to $1200 in publication charges for scholarly peer-reviewed articles, chapters, or published contributions, in
  • fully-open publication venues.

UMA SOAR is a funding source of last resort, available only to authors for publications for which no other sources of funding are available.  Articles for which alternative funding is available are not eligible for reimbursement. This includes articles reporting research funded by a gift or a grant from a granting agency, foundation, or other institution that allows granted funds to be used for article processing fees (whether or not the particular grant had budgeted for such fees and whether or not sufficient grant funds remain), and articles funded by an institution that itself pays article processing fees on behalf of the author. 

For example, the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute all provide funding for open access publication.  Authors must apply to those sources of funding first.  Only if those funds are exhausted or not available for some other reason will UMA SOAR support be available. Authors must document their funding sources and efforts.

Eligible applications will support open access publication of completed manuscripts, reviewed and accepted for publication, but not yet published. This can include:

  • scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles;
  • chapters or contributions to peer-reviewed scholarly monographs (not textbooks); and
  • scholarly peer-reviewed monographs.

Eligible publications and publishing venues must be fully and immediately open access. Publications in “hybrid open-access” (which also charge subscription fees) or “delayed open-access” journals and monographs are not eligible. 

  • Journals must be fully and immediately open access, in their entirety.
  • Monographs must be fully and immediately open access, in their entirety.
  • Journals or monograph publishers must be members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), OR demonstrably adhere to the OASPA Code of Conduct (many of these journals are listed at the Directory of Open Access Journals);
  • Journals or monograph publishers must have a standard article fee schedule, publicly accessible, and a policy to waive fees in cases of economic hardship or economic equity.

Additional Restrictions and Limitations

  • Funding is available annually for any one author up to $1200.  For example, a UMA author may only apply for one award per fiscal year, totaling $1200.
  • Funding is available for any one paper up to a maximum of $1200.  For example, a paper with two UMA authors may be the subject of only one application for UMA SOAR support.  The funding may be counted against either author’s allocation, or both, as the authors choose.
  • Support for non-UMA collaboratively authored papers will be available on a prorated basis. For example, if a UMA author collaborates with a non-UMA author, the UMA author may submit an application for support for up to $600 for a single publication. 
    Financial hardship on the part of non-UMA collaborators may be considered but will not in any case increase funding beyond the $1200 annual and per-article maximums.  For example, a UMA author collaborates with a non-UMA author from a developing nation who has no access to funding sources.  The UMA author may apply for a waiver of the proration calculation on that article, citing financial hardship in support of a request to pay the entire fee.  Please note: Journals should have a policy to waive fees in case of financial hardship, and this should be the first approach.
  • There will be two reimbursement deadlines per fiscal year - December and May. If UMA authors do not submit copies of their paid invoices by the applicable deadline, their award will be re-allocated back into the fund. Authors will receive email reminders one month and then one week before the invoice submission deadline.
  • All works will be deposited in UMA Amherst ScholarWorks.

NOTICE:  UMA SOAR will provide funds on a first-come, first-serve basis, apportioned equitably to those with eligible publications, until UMA SOAR funds are exhausted.  UMA SOAR cannot guarantee funding in advance, and authors should only consider themselves funded after their application is approved and they have received a notice of award from the UMA Libraries.



The UMA SOAR Fund is administered by the Scholarly Communication Department at the UMA Libraries.  Applications are reviewed by an ad hoc team of reviewers, including librarians and faculty not affiliated with the application.  Awards and lists of publications will be accumulated annually and posted at the University Library website.  Funding for future years will be dependent on number of applications, available funds, and evaluations of the program.  We encourage feedback about the program.  Please contact with your thoughts and feedback.


UMass Amherst Libraries--July 2014. 
September 27, 2017.