Apply now! Second call for proposals for alternative funding mechanism for non-author fee based open access publishing

UPDATE: deadline extended to Monday November 13, 12.00 (noon) CET


The OpenAIRE EC FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot is pleased to announce a new call for bids, this time to support open access publishing initiatives (see definition below) that intend to experiment with sustainable funding models alternative to author facing  article/book processing charges (APC/BPC, hereafter referred to as ‘author fees’). The first call was focused on facilitating technical improvements for existing OA journals and platforms (the results are available in this final report)

With this second call, we want to acknowledge the efforts that are being made, within the OA publishing landscape, to develop, pilot, and apply business models other than author fee based ones. We want to support ongoing and new initiatives that put an effort in investigating or experimenting with sustainable and scalable alternative business models. We want to support both start-up initiatives during the planning and launching stages and/or publishing initiatives that want to transition from one business model to another. We also welcome Research & Development initiatives, provided that the results will be made public and reusable. 

As this call is embedded within the OpenAIRE project, all eligible initiatives will have to prove that a number of FP7/H2020 publications will be published by it. The total budget available is € 200 000.

Applications should be send to the FP7 Post Grant Open Access administration in an email with the header OpenAIRE:call for funding NAME INITIATIVE. All attachments should be in pdf format.

According to this provision of funding, we are targeting and accepting submissions from initiatives in the following categories:

  • Existing non-author fee publishing initiatives who want to solidify or scale up their business model
  • Established author fee based full open access or subscription based publication initiatives that intend to switch to a non-author fee based open access business model
  • Research and Development related to non-author fee based open access publishing, provided that a concrete end result is envisioned and that the research will be communicated in a (re)usable format in order to maximise the impact and dissemination
  • We value initiative and out-of-the box thinking. Proposal submitters are free to add other activities when well motivated and serving the purpose of this bid.

=> Please note that the funds cannot be used to merely replace APC charges for a limited period of time. Also, this call is not solely intended for applying technical improvements for existing platforms, although these can be part of the activities proposed.  

The funding available is intended to cover the following posts:

  • Cover personnel cost to
    • conduct desktop research and assessment of potentially applicable business models for a non-author fee based publishing initiative;
    • develop a business model implementation plan, including a post-funding sustainability plan for a non-author fee based publishing initiative.
    • update existing publishing platforms to accommodate new workflows (note that this call is not solely intended for applying technical updates).
    • establish or pilot a publishing platform to support new publishing initiatives.
      • => The activities covered by personnel need to be clearly described and accounted for in the business model implementation plan, and fundings can only be utilized to implement those changes that are impactful for a successful adoption of the business model
  • Conduct activities to promote the initiative, and to ensure its post-grant sustainable success.
  • Preparation of data and any other costs necessary to ensure post-fund dissemination and conservation of research results
  • Travel related to the work done  (such as participation in workshops)

General framework:

  • Author fee or Article/book processing charge (also referred to as APC/BPC). A fee raised by the publication initiative and paid for by the author or their funding organism, intended to cover any publication costs that occur in order to publish the research in open access and intended to offset any potential loss of subscription costs
  • hybrid : a journal that offers some articles as open access while other articles remain behind a paywall.
  • Open Access publishing initiatives: individual journals, publishers, institutional publishing platforms, learned and scholarly societies
  • The alternative funding mechanism only applies to journals or publication platforms  that publish or have published peer-reviewed research articles arising from FP7 and H2020 projects. Data papers and software papers are considered research papers for the purpose of this funding.
  • The FP7 project eligibility criteria are the same which apply to the whole initiative: funding will be made available for publishing initiatives which publish or have published articles resulting from post- grant FP7 projects, i.e. that are accepted for publication within two years since the project end-date. For a bid to be taken into consideration, at least one eligible article must have been published or accepted for publication in the journal or platform during the specified term. A higher number of them will mean a better assessment for the bid.
  • A maximum total budget of €200,000 will be available for funding, to be allocated to as many projects the selection board deems suitable – depending on proposed activities and the total number of approved applications. There is an upper limit of 50 000€ per application – please take this into account when providing a budget plan.


  • Applications should be send to the FP7 Post Grant Open Access administration in an email with the header OpenAIRE:call for funding NAME INITIATIVE. All attachments should be in pdf format. All applications will be treated confidentially and will be shared with the assessment team only.
  • The application procedure will be open until November 9, midnight CET. Elected projects will be contacted end of November.
  • The information that needs to be provided is:
    1. the essential information on the publishing initiative that requests the funding
    2. overview of suggested activities with a list of Key Performance Indicators.
    3. letters of recommendation from at least two external sources vouching for the quality of the platform or journal
    4. if available, a backing list of eligible publications (i.e. publications made within the scope of FP7/H2020 projects)
    5. a detailed budget proposal and timeframe
  • As the OpenAIRE Work Package within which call takes place ends in June 2018, the timeframe of the proposed activities such not exceed this term – in other words, aim for a duration of activities of approx. 6 months.
  • The bids collected as a response to the call will be assessed by the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot team and by an external board of high level experts, whose names will be published on the OpenAIRE blog. The results of the call will be made public in a generalised matter via the same blog, individual feedback will be available.
  • The bids collected will be assessed by the experts panel according to the following criteria:
    1. For existing initiatives, basic open access journal/publishing platform quality standards (such as registration with the Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ or OASPA membership);
    2. Soundness and efficiency of the proposed plans, timeframe and budget (preferably with clear Key Performance Indicators)
    3. Number of FP7 and H2020  publications that will (potentially) be published by the initiative;
    4. Assessment of the long-term impact of the proposal
    5. Level of outreach and multiplication potential
  • A terms of agreement document and all necessary administrative arrangements will be provided upon announcement of the winning bids. A form will also be made available for reporting on the progress , midterm and at the end of the period.
  • Timeframe: Half of the allocated funding will be provided to selected bids once the terms of agreement document has been signed (December 2016)  while the other half will be paid at the end of the FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot in June 2018, provided that the planned activities and reporting duties have been fulfilled.
  • Invoices will be required, explicitly mentioning the activities performed. Invoicing procedure will be arranged in detail with approved projects
  • Winning bids are expected to showcase their results at at least three external outlets, such as conferences and blogposts on external sites.
  • One of the aims of this call is to generate a roadbook for other platforms, so participants in this call will be expected to provide input for that as well. We plan to organise an accompanying workshop to which participation will be required.
  • Participants will need to provide a basic Data Management Plan.

If you have any questions on this call, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 

UPDATE: deadline extended to Monday November 13, 12.00 (noon) CET


Gwen Franck

Open Access Programme Coordinator at EIFL - Electronic Information for Libraries / Open Access Project Officer at LIBER - Association of European Research Libraries

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