Institutional Membership in Open Access Initiatives: Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center


Almost every year the NCSU Libraries receives inquiries from NCSU researchers regarding institutional membership in open access publishing initiatives. Typically inquiries arise when researchers submit manuscripts for publication in open access journals and are asked to pay an article processing charge (APC). Instead of charging for access to their publications, open access publishers rely on the APC, which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, to recover their operating costs. Because many researchers do not receive large grants that could help pay for the cost of disseminating their research results, they look for assistance to pay for the APC. Institutional membership in some open access initiatives allows for the institution’s researchers to receive a discount or full payment of the APC.

The NCSU Libraries uses the following criteria in deciding whether to become institutional members of such open access publishing initiatives:

  • The membership should allow us to break even in the dollar amount that we spend on the membership relative to the amount that NCSU researchers save on the article charges.
  • The initiative must be financially sustainable for the foreseeable future.
  • There must be several options for membership that accommodate the uncertainty in our budgets for supporting open access initiatives.
  • The subjects covered by the journals must be relevant to NCSU researchers.
  • The journals must be high-quality venues that count toward tenure and promotion.
  • The institutional membership should be available on a trial basis in order to determine the level of interest among our researchers.
  • Membership should send a clear message of support for making research more accessible and allow us to influence scholarly communications in innovative and more sustainable directions.
  • The initiative should assist authors who need to meet the NIH Public Access or other funding agency mandates.
  • The journals should meet standards of impact, timeliness and indexing expected by NCSU researchers.

The CDSC also maintains a general page with information on open access publishing and the NCSU Libraries' support for campus authors.


William Cross
Director, Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center
NCSU Libraries