Open Access Initiatives @ The University of Kansas

The University of Kansas Libraries is committed to simultaneously providing access to resources needed to support research and teaching AND to preparing for and supporting the evolution of the scholarly publishing landscape so that future KU faculty and students can advance the scholarly record and participate in an equitable and accessible scholarly publishing system.

To that end, KU Libraries supports a number of innovative projects through funding, memberships, and management, including open access monograph publishing, open journal publishing, and supporting KU authors’ experimentation with emerging access and dissemination models. Supporting these initiatives is the result of collaboration between the Libraries' staff and librarians in its Content Development, Acquisitions & Resource Sharing, and the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright.

Support for KU Authors engaging with Open Access publishers:

  • KU One-University Open Access Publishing Fund - Since 2012,  we have provided funding for a pilot program to support KU authors that publish in open access journals. Co-managed by KU Medical Center and KU-Lawrence librarians, and funded by the Provost’s Office and Offices of Research of both locations. For KU-Lawrence and KU Med Center faculty, staff, and graduate students.
  • MDPI - We participate in the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP). MDPI is a Swiss publisher of over 360 open access journals. This membership provides a 10% reduction on listed APCs and is available for any manuscript where at least one authors is affiliated with either KU Lawrence or KU Medical Center. Participation in this program is free to KU Libraries.
  • Association for Computing Machinery - We are a pilot participant in ACM’s Unlimited Read and Unlimited Publish Model. KU Libraries pay a flat fee for three years (2021-2023), which was calculated based on the average number of KU articles published with ACM over the most recent 3 years. There are no APC fees for KU authors and we have the same “read” rights for ACM’s Digital Library as in prior years. We are working with ACM to achieve automatic deposit of KU authored articles into KU ScholarWorks.
  • PLOS - Through support from KU Libraries and the KU Office of Research, KU participates in several institutional partnerships with PLOS. Corresponding authors from KU Lawrence can now publish in any PLOS journal with no fees. To take advantage of this funding benefit, please indicate your University of Kansas Lawrence affiliation on the PLOS article submission form. In the case of PLOS Medicine, PLOS Biology, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, our participation in the PLOS Community Action Publishing extends discounts to corresponding authors for papers where a KU Lawrence researcher is a co-author. For more information, see the PLOS Publishing FAQ's.
  • Taylor & Francis Transformative Agreement - KU Libraries & KU Med Library have committed to provide a funding pool for 3 years (2021-2023) to cover APCs for KU corresponding authors’ peer-reviewed articles accepted for publication into fully open access T&F journals. For more details about the benefits of open publishing and how to find an open journal for KU research publishing, click the link above.
  • The Electrochemical Society (ECS) - We subscribe to ECS Plus, a program that allows KU faculty to openly publish their articles in ECS journals (Journal of the Electrochemical Society and ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology) with no charge to the author. Authors must select ECS Plus under Step 6 - Open Access Waivers, Charges, and Credits, at the time of manuscript submission in order to be eligible for the APC waiver. There are no limits on the number of papers that can be published in any given subscription year.
  • PeerJ - We are participating in a new pilot membership program with PeerJ which enables KU researchers to publish up to three articles in a three year period at no cost to the author. Essentially, we are covering that cost directly. More information is available on the PeerJ KU institutional page and in a PeerJ press release about the program.

Support for Innovative Open Publishing Projects Making Scholarly Content Available to All:  

  • Annual Reviews Subscribe to Open - We are a pilot participant in the Annual Reviews' Subscribe to Open model. If enough libraries subscribe, Annual Reviews will make some of their journals open access and eliminate APCs  for authors. Participating libraries do not pay more than they previously did in subscription fees for this model. In order for this model to succeed, enough libraries must maintain subscriptions to keep these journals open, otherwise they will return to a traditional paywalled model.
  • University of Michigan Press Fund to Mission Model - We have purchased the Transitional Collection, which is part of UMP’s Fund to Mission Model. This means KU Libraries will own UMP e-books published between 2021-2023 and if UMP receives enough funding support from other institutions, their goal is to make at least 50% of their titles published 2022 and 2023 open access without requiring authors to pay book processing charges.
  • Open Library of Humanities - We are a contributor to the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a peer-reviewed gold open access platform for the humanities that aims to provide free online access to scholarship, including the OLH mega-journal (a new trans-disciplinary space for humanities work) and 26 other peer reviewed, open access journals to date. As a gold open access publisher, the OLH operates via funding from an international library consortium without fees to authors or readers.
  • Open Book Publishers - We have joined the library membership program established by Open Book Publishers (OBP), a non-profit organized by academics in Cambridge (UK) to publish rigorously peer-reviewed open access monographs. Membership allows KU Libraries to provide free ebook downloads (pdf, epub and mobi) and discounted prices for print versions of all OBP titles to faculty, staff and students. Currently, the OBP catalog includes 58 titles in the humanities and social sciences, with at least 12 new titles expected to be published during the next year. As a member of the program, KU Libraries joins 130 other leading research libraries in the United States (including Princeton, Yale, and Purdue) as well as a number in the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • arXiv - We are a supporting member of arXiv, an open access digital archive of over 1 million scientific e-prints that has been online since 1991. arXiv hosts scholarship and research results from the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, and statistics that are heavily used by members of the KU community.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - We are a supporting member of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), one of several key international sources of information about the new publishing model for peer-reviewed scholarly research - open access journals. In 2014, under new leadership, the DOAJ project underwent significant revisions and vetting of its criteria for inclusion.  KU has been a long-time user of this resource and supports the more rigorous criteria and review before a new journal is added to its database. In order to support the ongoing nonprofit efforts, KU became a supporting member in the Fall of 2014.
  • Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) - We contribute to SCOAP3. This project ensures that the content of the well-respected journals in particle physics are openly accessible (no subscription needed) as long as there are enough libraries to pay the equivalent of the traditional subscriptions. In the long run the content is open to anyone in the world with an internet connection and over time, has resulted in reduced pricing.
  • Knowledge Unlatched - We are a supporter and contributing member of this project to provide open access to books published by well-known university presses. Titles are being made openly available via OAPEN and HathiTrust as fully downloadable PDFs immediately upon publication.
  • HathiTrust Digital Library - KU is a proud member of the HathiTrust Digital Library. This partnership will allow KU faculty, staff, and students to access full text of the 2.7 million volumes in the public domain that are held by the HathiTrust.

Scholarly Communication Contacts

Josh Bolick
Head of Scholarly Communications & Copyright
Watson Library, Room 400A


Heather Mac Bean
Open Education Librarian
Watson Library, Room 450

Helpful Links