Tips from open access book authors: how to find funding

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue Sep 1 2020

Author: Guest contributor

In this blog, we pass on useful tips from some of our published open access book authors about different ways to find open access book funding.

Written by Christina Emery, Marketing Manager, Outreach and Open Research

We know that the majority of book authors want to publish their work open access (see The Future of Open Access Books survey results) but we also know that there are different challenges in being able to do so, such as a lack of open access (OA) funding.

Event image

During our Explore Open Access Books event in New York (pre-COVID-19), researchers from the US and Europe shared their experiences with us. One of the most interesting points of discussion was around how they found funding to cover the book processing charge, or BPC, for their open access book.

Why did they choose open access if it is difficult to find funding?

One recurring theme of the day kept underlining the important opportunity which OA provides when it comes to informing others outside their immediate academic realm, such as policy makers, practitioners, agencies and consultants, for real-world impact.

Housing Estates in Europe

In addition, for Daniel Hess, Professor and Chair at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo, a strong motivator for him choosing open access was so that people in his research network could read his work as he wanted to achieve a “bigger impact”.

“My work is about access […] to opportunities,” explained Sophie Mitra, Professor in the Department of Economics at Fordham University. Conceptually and practically, open access fits her objective. “Open access brings down barriers,” she further expanded, as her content is relevant to a range of disciplines such as economists and epidemiologists as well as to researchers specialising in disability studies.

Evaluating Climate Change Action for Sustainable Development

In addition to the obvious benefits of choosing open access, both Dr. Juha Uitto, Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility, and Prof. Hess commented that their funders actually either mandated or requested that their books be published open access.

How did they find open access book funding?

The main takeaway around how to find funding to cover the BPC was to be creative when thinking about potential funding sources. 

Research funders

  • Prof. Hess advised authors interested in open access to think ahead and ask for BPC funding as part of your grant request. Some research funders will be happy to cover it, some mandate that you publish open access, and indeed for some it is essential that you request this funding upfront.


  • If the book is being co-written by multiple authors, consider crowdsourcing the BPC amongst your group of authors, especially if they are from other institutions and organisations.
  • Collaborate for larger grants together with other disciplines as the availability of open access funding can vary, with some disciplines being better funded.
  • For Prof. Hess who was editing a contributed volume, some of the co-authors wanted to publish their chapters open access. As there were enough contributions towards the chapter processing charges for their own chapters, it meant that the total amount was enough to cover the BPC for the whole book to be published open access, effectively meaning that some of the chapters became open access for “free”.
  • Phil Getz, Senior Commissioning Editor, Religion and Philosophy at Palgrave Macmillan pointed out that there is more funding available in Europe so if you are not based in Europe but you are collaborating with authors there, funding may be available through them.

Institutional support

Disability, Health and Human Development

  • Prof. Mitra explained that she used the seed grant programme at Fordham University as their Office of Research has different grant programmes. Her tip is to start within your own institution before looking externally. 
  • If not, researchers should still make enquiries so that research support staff will be aware of demand for open access book funding. They can react to this demand as support from authors helps to strengthen arguments for OA book funds.
  • Appropriating subvention funds may also be an option according to another audience member, so do approach your institutional librarian.

In short

If you would like, or need to, publish your book open access, talk to your institution and co-authors as together, you may be able to find a solution. Don’t forget to ask your research funder upfront about the possibility.

Springer Nature also provides a free open access support service to make it easier for our authors to discover and apply for funding to cover BPCs. Further information on this service including an A-Z index of available funding can be found on the funding support service website.

Thank you to our open access book authors who took part in the event and shared their experiences with us. If you are interested in learning more about publishing an open access book, please take a look at our open access books hub.

Emery 250x250
Christina Emery is Marketing Manager for Springer Nature’s open access books programmes. Her aim is to spread the word about the benefits of publishing academic books open access to researchers around the world.



Author: Guest contributor

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