The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Does UMass have a fund to support open access research?

Yes, the SOAR Fund was established in 2014.


Can I use UMass SOAR funds to support publication in any journal I want, like [Name Your Journal]?

The UMass SOAR fund has some restrictions.  It can only be applied to fully-open publications, not so-called "hybrid" publications that are also supported through subscription or licensing revenues.  For instance, PLOS One is eligible; Nature is not.  

We recommend you talk with your department about supporting publication fees in other (non-open access) journals, and we can help you incorporate funding requests into future grant proposals.


I have grant support, but can I use UMass SOAR funds instead?  

The UMass SOAR fund 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.


How can I be sure that this journal is a high-quality journal and not a "predatory publisher"?

Whenever you submit your work for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, whether open access or fee-based subscription-based, you should be sure that the publisher is well-reputed, and has a professional approach to peer review.  While choice of publication venue belongs solely to the authors, the UMass SOAR Fund administrators will evaluate proposals to ensure that publishers are members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), or demonstrably adhere to OASPA's Code of Conduct.  

"Predatory publishers" are publishers who do not adhere to ethical principles and/or do not incorporate scholarly standards into their publishing practices.  Instead, they primarily seek to profit from publishing research, by charging fees to authors or readers or both. The proliferation of new journals and the ease of Internet-based publishing have made it possible to set up journals or "publications" quickly and easily.  These can cause harm to scholarly authors in a number of ways, including harming their reputations; precluding better publishing opportunities; and taking fees for publishing. 

If you have any concerns about a particular publisher or journal, we recommend you speak with your liaison or subject librarian, or one of the members of the Scholarly Communication Department.  


Can I still get funding if I am not the only author on my work?

You are eligible for SOAR funding provided you are the primary or corresponding author of the article or book contribution for which you are submitting an application.


My work will be published as a chapter in a book.  Is it eligible for funding?

Yes, the SOAR Fund is available for journal articles, book chapters, or entire books.  However, the publication as a whole must be fully and immediately open access, in its entirety.  So, the entire book must be open access on publication, without embargo or delay.  


What kinds of manuscripts are eligible for SOAR Funding?

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


I am a post-doc.  Am I eligible?

If you are employed by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as a current faculty member, instructor, post-doctoral researcher, staff member, or graduate student author, you are eligible to apply for funding. 


Alas, I am not eligible for SOAR Funding support.  Is there any other source of funding on campus?

The Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement has a Publication Subvention Program for tenured and tenure-track faculty. Individual colleges, schools, and departments may also provide funding, as may grants. 


Do other institutions have such funds?

Yes, other academic institutions have established similar funds, and the UMass SOAR Fund was established in keeping with guidelines for this kind of fund (COPE - Coalition for Open Access Publishing Equity Compact ).  Research about open access funding is ongoing.  See, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition's (SPARCNorth American Campus-Based Open Access Funds: A Five-Year Progress Report and its accompanying infographic


This sounds great.  What do I have to do?

Once your completed (eligible) manuscript has been reviewed and accepted for publication, you can apply for funding. If you receive an award, you will need to deposit your manuscript in ScholarWorks.  That's it!


How do I handle reimbursements?

The SOAR Fund is administered by the Libraries, which will transfer funds to your Department, and you can arrange payment in whatever form is most convenient to you. Commonly, authors will use credit cards from their department or lab to pay, or their own personal credit cards, and then seek reimbursement from their departments.  In your application, you will include your departmental financial person, and the Libraries will work with that person to effect a transfer of funds.  


Are there deadlines for reimbursement?

Yes, there are deadlines for reimbursement for each fiscal year.  Depending on when you submit your application, your deadline to provide the Libraries with a copy of your paid invoice will be in December or May.  If you do not provide the Libraries with a copy of your paid invoice by the reimbursement deadline, your award will be re-allocated back into the fund for that year.