FAQs: funding for OA books

Springer and Palgrave Macmillan offer authors the option of paying a book processing charge (BPC) or chapter processing charge (CPC) in order to make their publication immediately openly available online. For information on BPC/CPC pricing, please check your preferred imprint’s website or contact an Editor (Springer/Palgrave Macmillan) for further details.

Over 60 funders and institutions worldwide provide BPC or CPC funding to help authors publish via the open access (OA) route. The following FAQs provide guidance on how to locate OA funding for books and chapters, and what steps should be taken to secure it.

1. When should I start thinking about funding for my OA book or chapter?

We recommend that authors begin thinking about how they will fund their BPC/CPC when they are preparing their proposal for submission. This will allow authors to confirm that funding is available prior to committing to paying OA publication costs.

Where possible, we also advise researchers to consider publication charges when applying for research funding, as some funders permit authors to include publication costs in the budget of main research grants. For more information, please see FAQ 4.

2. Where should I look for book processing charge (BPC)/chapter processing charge (CPC) funding?

A growing number of research funders and institutions are providing funding to cover the costs associated with researchers’ OA books and chapters. Information about OA funding for books may be available on funder and institutional websites.

In some cases, ad hoc funds may be made available by a funder or institution that is willing to support immediate OA publication of books or chapters, but has not yet established a dedicated fund for BPCs or CPCs. Authors interested in publishing their work OA but are unable to locate dedicated funds elsewhere are advised to speak to their department/institution or funder. Your editor or Springer Nature's Funding Support Service can provide assistance in approaching these organisations and supplying relevant information and support for applications.

Springer Nature provides a free service to assist authors in identifying OA funding. Check our list of organisations with OA funding for books and chapters for further details or contact our OA Funding and Policy Support Service for personalised advice.

3. Do BPC/CPC funding opportunities vary globally or by discipline?

At present, OA funding availability and the methods used to distribute funds vary globally. In regions such as Northern and Western Europe, where immediate OA is more strongly supported by funders, authors may have access to a wider range of sources of BPC and CPC funding. In North America, several institutions permit authors to use their library’s limited OA fund for book and chapters. Elsewhere in the world, approaches to OA publishing are in earlier stages of development, particularly for books, so formal mechanisms for BPC and CPC funding are less established.

OA funding availability also differs according to research discipline. To date, OA has been more prevalent in the STM fields of science, technology and medicine, particularly the life sciences. Authors may find this reflected in funding opportunities provided by their research funder, although increasingly funders with focuses in other research disciplines are supporting BPCs and CPCs.

For more information on different BPC funding routes, please see FAQ 2.

4. Can I use my research grant to pay the BPC/ CPC, or do I need to make a separate application?

A number of funding bodies and institutions have dedicated funds for OA publication charges. Authors will usually need to apply to the fund administrator on a case-by-case basis. For more  information on applying for funding, please see FAQ 8.

Some funders allow grantees to use remaining research funds to pay BPCs and CPCs, while others may permit or require that OA publication costs are appropriately budgeted during the initial grant application process.

Our list of organisations with OA funding includes a number of funders that make BPC and CPC funding available via main research grants. If in doubt, authors should check their grant terms or contact the grant administrator to confirm whether funds may be used in this way.

Authors planning to use research grants to pay OA publication costs should consider that BPC and CPC payments are usually made at the point when an OA book contract is signed, which may be after the applicable research grant has been closed. The combined editorial and publication process for books is often longer than for that of journal articles, and so this may need to be brought to the attention of the funder when discussing allocation of grant budgets for BPCs and CPCs.

5. My institution has an open access membership agreement with BMC and SpringerOpen. Does this apply to Springer or Palgrave Macmillan OA books?

Springer Nature has membership programmes available for its SpringerOpen and BioMed Central journal portfolios, which also includes a set discount for all authors of SpringerOpen books affiliated with a member organisation. See here for further information about current member organisations and available discounts. There are no membership arrangements for Palgrave Macmillan books and chapters.

6. What types of restrictions or eligibility criteria might apply to my BPC/CPC funding?

Funders and institutions may require authors to meet certain conditions in order to be eligible for BPC or CPC funding. Confirmation that these requirements are being met may be requested prior to the release of funds, for example as part of an application form, or compliance may be retrospectively monitored.

Due to the higher cost of OA publication costs for books compared to articles, and because the model for books is less established, funding eligibility may be determined on a case-by-case basis. For assistance in providing information about the publication requested by the funder or institution please contact your editor or Springer Nature's Funding Support Service.

Common eligibility criteria for BPC and CPC funding include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Publication requirements

Funds for publication costs may only be offered for certain types of publication. Even where the funder or institution specifies that the fund may be used to cover costs for OA books, authors should check whether it covers the type and volume of the content they are looking to publish OA, For example, does the fund cover:

  • Monographs and/or edited collections?
  • Individual chapters and/or whole books? 

Author requirements

  • Where multiple authors contribute to an edited collection, funders or institutions may only offer BPC funding where the affiliated researcher/grantee is an author, or they may restrict funding to cases where the affiliated researcher is an editor of the collection.
  • Where funds are provided or distributed by an institution, eligibility may be determined by:

i. Institutional department

ii. Affiliation at the time research was conducted

iii. Affiliation of co-authors: institutional funding may be restricted or prorated for books co-authored by researchers from different institutions, particularly if their institution provides a similar fund.

iv. Availability of BPC funding from alternative sources, e.g. research funders

  • Where funds are provided by a research funder, eligibility may be determined by their grant programme 

Licence requirements

BPC/CPC funding may only be provided for books or chapters published under particular open access licences, usually the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY 4.0) (although other non-commercial licences may be permitted). Learn more about funder licensing requirements.

Other requirements

  • Authors may be required to deposit the final published version of record required in a specified institutional or subject repository. To find out more, view our guidance on meeting funder and institutional requirements for self-archiving
  • Additional deposition requirements may be required for OA books and chapters. For example, the Wellcome Trust requires deposition of the whole final published book to NCBI Bookshelf. Springer Nature will do this on behalf of the author for all in-scope OA books published through Springer and Palgrave Macmillan. Individual chapters funded by the Wellcome Trust are also deposited.
  • Some funders like the Austrian Science Fund have requirements relating to the peer-review process of the book whose BPC they are considering funding. Where they require documentary evidence or further information, we are able to provide this; contact your editor for details.

Meeting BPC funding requirements

Authors should check that they are able to meet the funder’s requirements prior to submitting their manuscript for review, including checking the publishers’ policies.

In addition to the requirements attached to BPC funding, many funders and institutions have OA policies that relate to all researchers affiliated with or in receipt of research funding from these organisations. For information on identifying OA policies and meeting requirements, read our OA Policy FAQs for books and chapters.

7. Do funders place limits on the amount of BPC/CPC funding they provide?

Funders and institutions may place a cap on the amount of BPC or CPC funding that they provide to authors. Caps for funding offered for OA books and chapters may be the same as or different from the cap used for journal articles. Common limits include caps on the amount available per publication, per project, or per author per year.

8. I have located a source of funding and confirmed that I am eligible. How and when do I apply?

How do I apply?

Application routes for BPC/CPC funding vary by organisation. In some cases no formal application is necessary, for example if authors are permitted to use unspent grant funds to pay BPCs. In many cases however, authors and/or publishers will be required to formally request BPC or CPC funds, either by completing a dedicated application form, by contacting the fund administrators directly, or by including projected publication costs in the budget of their main research grant application. Check your funder’s or institution’s website for details of application processes, or contact our OA Funding and Policy Support Service for assistance.

When should I apply?

Authors should also check when they are required to make their application, as this will differ depending on the funder’s or institution’s workflows. Some organisations require that authors apply for BPC/CPC funding prior to submitting their manuscript, while others require that an application is made once the manuscript has been accepted for publication, or after payment has been made (for reimbursement).

What information will I need?

As part of a BPC or CPC funding application, authors may need to provide information about the publisher. We are happy to assist with the application process where information is not available on the Springer or Palgrave Macmillan websites, or on the central Springer Nature website. Please contact your editor or Springer Nature's Funding Support Service for advice.

For further assistance in publishing open access view our OA checklist for books and chapters, or learn more about identifying and meeting funder and institutional OA requirements in our OA policy FAQs for books and chapters.

If you have any feedback on these FAQs, including suggestions for further information on OA funding you would like to see, please let us know at OAFundingPolicy@springernature.com