University Libraries to cover open access fees for Carolina authors in PLOS journals

January 18, 2022

PLOS logo and UNC Libraries logo

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers publishing in journals from PLOS will no longer need to pay article processing charges. The waiver is thanks to the University Libraries’ participation in several PLOS publishing partnerships.

The agreements pilot various ways for institutions to reduce the fee burden for open access publishing and to increase the amount of high-quality peer-reviewed research in open circulation.

“Partnering with PLOS is an easy choice because doing so advances the pillars of sustainable scholarship: openness, transparency, affordability and sustainability,” said Elaine Westbrooks, vice provost for University libraries and University librarian. “Quality open access journals, like those published by PLOS, provide greater visibility for the life-changing research that takes place at Carolina. They increase taxpayer and global access to that research, and they are cost-effective for the University.”

PLOS operates as a nonprofit. Since its launch in 2001, it has pioneered open access alternatives to standard subscription journals in the areas of science and medicine.

Information for authors

The agreements with PLOS provide benefits for corresponding authors and, in some cases, contributing authors from UNC-Chapel Hill.

If you are the corresponding author for an article submitted to a PLOS journal, indicate your UNC-Chapel Hill affiliation on the submission form. PLOS and the University Libraries will take care of the rest. There will be no charge to you or to contributing authors.

If you are a contributing author to an article submitted to PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine or PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, UNC-Chapel Hill’s participation will provide a 25% discount for article processing charges. (If the corresponding author is from a different partner institution, all charges will be covered.)

Learn more through the PLOS publishing information page or FAQ.

Open access publishing at UNC-Chapel Hill

In 2016, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill adopted an open access policy that directs faculty to make their publications available in an open access repository.

“The system of scholarly publishing as we know it is broken,” said Westbrooks. “It is up to all of us in higher education to create the future we want to see.”

In early 2020, the University Libraries chose not to renew its contract with Elsevier after failing to reach acceptable contract terms with the publisher. Around the same time, the Library also entered an open access pilot with SAGE.

“Decades of high prices and inflation have created an unstable system,” said Westbrooks. “Partnering with PLOS is one way we at Carolina can reassert our values and innovate for the public good.”

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