COAP Fund Frequently Asked Questions

See also: COAP Fund guidelines and instructions for application and reimbursement.

1. What is the COAP Fund?

The Columbia Open-Access Publication (COAP) Fund is a pilot project to support experiments in scholarly publishing. COAP supports Columbia faculty, students, and staff who want to make their journal articles free to all readers immediately upon publication. The fund pays for reasonable article-processing fees for articles authored or co-authored by Columbia faculty, students, and staff published in eligible open-access journals and for which no other funding is available. COAP is part of the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity.

2. What is the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity?

The Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity is a consortium of universities that have committed to supporting innovative business models for scholarly publishing by “underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.” Signatories include Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Michigan.

3. Are there programs similar to the COAP Fund at other institutions?

The other institutions participating in the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Ottawa, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of Barcelona) have instituted similar funds. Nottingham University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Oregon, and the University of Calgary all have programs that fund publication fees for a variety of open-access publications.

4. Who is funding this initiative at Columbia?

COAP is funded by Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS).

5. Why is the COAP Fund needed?

Though most scholarly journals are supported through a combination of page fees and subscriptions, open-access journals are an important part of the scholarly record. If journals are to adapt innovative business models, they must be assured that there is available a steady stream of revenue from sources other than subscriptions. COAP, along with publication subsidies from granting agencies, can help provide that assurance.

6. How do I apply?

Upon acceptance of your article for publication, follow the instructions for application and reimbursement.

7. What if an article has multiple authors?

In the case of an article with multiple authors, each eligible author can apply for a prorated portion of the publication fee. An example: An article with three authors, two of whom are from Columbia, is to appear in a journal with a $3,000 publication fee. Each Columbia author may enter an application for $1,000. If both apply and are approved, the author who paid the publication fee can submit for a reimbursement of $2,000. In the hypothetical case of an eligible journal with a $6,000 publication fee, each Columbia author could apply for a prorated portion of the $3,000 funding cap per article, or $1,000.

8. What publications are eligible for funding?

Peer-reviewed scholarly articles that are published in open-access journals are eligible. The journals must:

  • Provide unfettered access to all peer-reviewed articles. Journals with a hybrid open-access model or delayed open-access model are not eligible.
  • Be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association OR adhere to its Code of Conduct.
  • Have publicly available a standard article fee schedule.
  • Have a policy to waive fees in cases of economic hardship.

Many, though not all, eligible journals will be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

9. I am being charged page or color charges by a subscription-based journal. Will COAP funds cover these fees?

Many subscription-based journals have some form of publishing fee, usually in the form of page or color charges. COAP does not cover publishing fees charges by subscription-based journals. The purpose of COAP is to support innovative models of scholarly communication.

10. Who determines whether a journal is eligible?

Authors must attest when applying for funds that the journal complies with all COAP eligibility requirements.

11. Can COAP be used to support the publication of formats other than journal articles such as open-access conference presentations and monographs?

COAP Fund administrators are willing to consider different types of open access publications. Please email if you are looking for support for a monograph, website, or other format.

12. Are there limits on the amount that can be requested?

An author may request up to $3,000 per article and up to $3,000 per author in the course of an academic year.

13. What fees are covered by COAP?

COAP covers, up to the $3,000 cap per article, all article-processing fees related to the online version of the article. Charges for reprints or print-on-demand copies are not covered.

14. Who decides which applications are funded?

COAP funds are authorized by COAP administrators on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming that the author attests that all requirements have been met.

15. Do authors need to exhaust other funding sources that can be used to pay for submission fees before applying to the COAP Fund?

Yes. The COAP Fund is intended to be a funding source of last resort. Authors with articles with underlying research that was funded by gifts or grants from a granting agency, foundation, or other institution (including Columbia itself) that allows granted funds to be used for publication fees should exhaust those funds before applying to the COAP Fund. If you do not have grant funding that supports publication, or you do not have sufficient funds remaining in your research grants to cover an open-access publication fee, AND you do not have other funds (such as departmental funds) with which you can pay the fee, you may apply for reimbursement from the COAP Fund.

16. What materials are authors required to submit?

See the instructions for application and reimbursement for detailed information.

17. What is the tax status of reimbursements?

For Columbia employees, such as faculty members or paid researchers, the payment or reimbursement of open-access article-processing fees may reasonably be viewed as a “working condition fringe.” Since working condition fringe benefits are excludible from income, amounts reimbursed to employees from the COAP Fund will not be included in income on the employee’s Form W-2, and will not be subject to any reporting or withholding. For non-employee students, reimbursements from the COAP Fund may be taxable. These reimbursements are considered a scholarship or fellowship payment, and such payments are subject to tax under Code Section 117 unless used for qualified tuition and related expenses. For U.S. persons, Columbia is not required to withhold on, or report the amount of, such fellowship payments; any required reporting is done by the recipients on their individual returns. For non-U.S. persons, taxable amounts are subject to reporting on a Form 1042-S, and are subject to withholding and to any income tax treaties with the recipient’s country of residence.

18. I understand that you deposit articles supported by the COAP Fund into Academic Commons, Columbia’s digital repository. Can you tell me more about that?

To fulfill the Scholarly Communication Program’s mission of supporting the global reach and impact of research produced at Columbia University, we use the COAP Fund to introduce authors to Academic Commons (AC), Columbia’s digital repository. We place articles supported by the Fund in the repository and ask AC staff to reach out to authors about repository services. If you have any questions, contact the Fund administrator at

19. Does this program have permanent funding?

All aspects of this program, including the amount of funding committed to the program, will be analyzed and reviewed on a regular basis to assess its value to scholarly communication at Columbia.

20. Who determines how the fund is implemented?

The COAP Fund is implemented by the Scholarly Communication Program, under the advisement of the CUL/IS Management Committee.

21. Who do I contact if I have questions?

Email or call 212-851-2856.