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UMass Amherst Libraries

SOAR Fund

Supporting Open Access Research fund information

FAQs about the SOAR Fund

These are some common questions about the SOAR Fund; if you have another not covered here, contact Christine Turner, Scholarly Communication Librarian.

What kinds of manuscripts are eligible for SOAR Fund awards?

Scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles; chapters or contributions to peer-reviewed scholarly monographs (not textbooks); and scholarly peer-reviewed monographs are eligible. The publication must be wholly and immediately open access without delay. "Hybrid" publications that are also funded through sales, subscription, or licensing revenues are not eligible. 

My research is grant-funded; can I use UMass SOAR funds to pay publication costs?  

The UMass SOAR fund is a limited fund of last resort. The Libraries strongly encourage researchers to build in publication costs to their research grant budgets. If research publication costs are not covered by a grant, authors should also consider funds which may be available from their department or, in the case where there is a co-author from another institution, an institution that allows granted funds to be used for author processing fees or by an institution that itself pays article processing fees on behalf of the author.

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.

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 you are a UMA student author, you are eligible to apply for funding.  

Do the Libraries provide funding for open access publications in any other ways?

Yes, the Libraries have agreements with some publishers which cover or discount open access publication fees. See this list of publisher agreements

Will the SOAR Fund pay my publication fee directly to the publisher?

No, the SOAR Fund is administered by the Libraries, which will transfer the amount of your SOAR Fund award ($1,200 maximum) 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.

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!

Alas, I am not eligible for SOAR Funding support and the Libraries don't have an agreement with my publisher. 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.

How can I be sure that I'm submitting my work to an ethical and not a "predatory" publisher?

Whenever you submit your work to a publisher, whether open access or fee-based/subscription-based, or a conference, 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. See our page on Predatory Publishers for more details on what to look for.

"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, contact liaison or subject librarian or Christine Turner, Scholarly Communication Librarian  

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 ).