Open Access Charges in Grant Applications

The Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requires that all peer-reviewed journal publications resulting from funding by the Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) must be freely available online within 12 months of publication.  As part of this requirement, article processing charges (APCs) for open access publishing became an allowable expense in grant proposals. Many other international funding agencies have similar requirements and provisions for covering open access costs.

Estimating the amount needed for Article Processing Charges

Although you may not know the exact number or cost of publication charges for your research at the time of the proposal, we recommend including an estimated cost to ensure adequate funding to meet your publishing goals and funders’ open access requirements.

Start by checking the ‘open access’ or ‘for authors’ web pages of the journals where you are considering publishing your work.  Look for information on article processing charges and ensure that if they are paid, your article will be made openly accessible within the funder’s time frame.  APCs can vary among journals within the publisher’s suite.  They can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.  You should also check to see if UBC Library has negotiated a discount for APCs with that publisher.

Another important consideration is whether the journal enables self-archiving, also known as ‘green open access.’

This is a way of publishing the peer reviewed version (sometimes called a postprint) of your article at no cost online in a discipline-based or institutional repository such as UBC’s cIRcle.  Again, ensure any embargo periods meet your funder’s policy. We highly recommend this approach, when a journal provides it, to reduce your grant costs while remaining compliant with your funder’s open access policies.

Need more information? See this guide for more information about open access publishing options.

When you are ready to include open access fees in your grant proposal, we suggest using the sample language below. Adapt the wording as required to suit your situation.

In accordance with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, peer-reviewed journal publications resulting from this grant will be made openly accessible within 12 months of publication.  I will comply with this policy either by self-archiving in an institutional or discipline-based repository OR by paying an article processing charge (APC) to make the article freely available.

I anticipate publishing [X number] peer-reviewed journal articles based on the research conducted under this grant.  Sample journals in my field that are possible venues for publication include: [names of journals]. Current article processing charges for these journals range in cost from [$dollar amount] to [$dollar amount].  Accordingly, I am requesting [$total costs for all articles] in funding to cover anticipated APC costs for peer-reviewed journal articles resulting from this grant.


This guide was adapted from the Simon Fraser University Library webpage: Sample Language for Requesting Open Access Publishing Funds, shared under a CC-BY-NC Creative Commons Licence.