Are there any costs involved in open access publishing?

Open access is based on the principle that the readers do not have to pay for access to scientific information. However, this does not mean that making that informaton freely available does not involve making costs. Publishers often charge publication fees for publishing an article (or book), also called Article Processing Charges (APCs).

If you, as an author, have to cover these costs depends on the conditons set by the journal in which you want to publish.

It sometimes happens that Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht authors unnecessarily pay the publication fees themselves. That is why it is worth your while to check the answers to the questions below.

Sometimes you do not have to pay publication fees

1.  Have funding agreements been made with the publisher?

Big Deals
Maybe the journal you publish in is part of a Big Deal. The VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) has reached agreements with several large publishers about open access: the Big Deals.  Have a look at the national open access agreements, including an up-to-date list of journals within these deals. The agreements facilitate free open access publishing and/or offer discounts. Sometimes the agreements cover all journals by a publisher, sometimes only a selection.

Utrecht University discount agreements
In addition to the national agreements Utrecht University has entered into separate deals with a number of publishers on open access publishing discounts.

What should you keep in mind when submitting an article?

What you must do to benefit from discounts on Open Access publication fees differs for each publisher and sometimes also for each journal.

  • As corresponding author, always give your UU email address.
  • Check the OA box when submitting the article or mention afterwards that you want to publish Open Access.

The Open Access Journal Browser

The Open Access Journal Browser is a useful tool to check in what journals you, as Utrecht University author, can publish free of charge or against reduced rates.

To the Open Access Journal Browser


2.  Does my research funder reimburse my open access publication fees?

Include the costs for Open Access publishing in your project application. Only costs which you make for publishing in full open access journals will be reimbursed. Do you want to find out more about the NWO policy? Here you will find more information (scroll down to 'Conditions for open access publication').

The Horizon2020 project of the European Commission reimburses the following Open Access publications:
- Articles in full Open Access journals
- Articles in hybrid journals
- Read the guidelines of Horizon2020.

Horizon Europe
The successor to Horizon2020 is Horizon Europe, the framework programme of the European Union for research and innovation for the period 2021-2027.

Sometimes you have to pay publication fees

(if you have answered the two questions above with a no)

Can I use the Utrecht University Open Access Fund?
As a Utrecht University researcher you may ask the Utrecht University Open Access Fund for partial reimbursement of your open access publication fees.