Publication funding: new focus on digital publishing and open access

This picture shows a photoshopped image of books protruding from an iPad. © Fotolia

The SNSF is adapting its publication funding: as of 1 July 2014, support will focus on digital and open access book publications; this corresponds to the rules applying to the publication of journal articles. At the same time, the SNSF will create the option to claim publication costs within the budget of an SNSF-funded project.

​Up until now, the SNSF has awarded publication grants to researchers wishing to publish their results in the form of a book. These grants contributed towards the costs of printed books. In view of the trend towards digital publications and open access (OA), the SNSF supports digital and open access book publications. In so doing, the SNSF is matching the current funding policies of other European research funders as well as backing national projects promoting digitalisation and open access.

Twin approach to financing scientific publications

Publication funding can now be secured in two ways:

  • Publication funding in the context of SNSF grants

Since 1 October 2013, researchers have been able to claim publishing costs for publications in purely OA journals in the context of project and career funding as well as in programmes. As of 1 July 2014, researchers can also request funding for digital book publications when submitting their project proposal. Book publications resulting from projects submitted before 1 July 2014 or already approved ongoing projects can be funded through the scheme "publication grants" till the end of 2017.

  • Funding scheme "publication grants"

Scientific digital book publications produced independently of SNSF research projects can be funded through the scheme "publication grants" as before. Proposals for digital book publications can be submitted via mySNF as of 1 July 2014. Until 22 June 2014, proposals can be submitted under the previous rules.

Key changes at a glance

The SNSF has adapted the rules in three key areas:

  • Expanding the open access policy to cover book publications

Current open access debates in Europe show that scientific books should become as freely available as journal articles. Science Europe welcomes new business models for OA book publications. A number of studies have confirmed that open access improves the visibility of scientific books; many research funding organisations have already embraced this approach. As a result, the SNSF is expanding its OA policy to include monographs and editions: book publications co-financed by the SNSF must be made accessible in a disciplinary or institutional repository after an embargo period of no more than 24 months. Exceptions to the requirement for open access are granted by the SNSF in the case of insurmountable legal and/or technical obstacles.

  • Funding of digital book publications

In addition to the OA commitments, the visibility of research results is also supported by the move towards digital book publications. As a digital book is more rapidly accessible than a printed book and can be disseminated more widely, the publication funding of the SNSF will be limited to financing the digital version of a publication. The SNSF will award grants covering the costs of typesetting, layout, image rights, image processing, proofreading and digitisation. This covers costs at the pre-printing stage.

  • Awarding of lump sums

The SNSF will contribute lump sums towards the production costs of a digital book publication. A maximum grant of CHF 10,000 can be requested for a basic digital OA publication. For doctoral theses and habilitations, a lump sum of CHF 6,000 is awarded. For a more elaborate digital OA publication a maximum of CHF 20,000 can be requested. These lump sums also cover editorial costs amounting to a maximum of CHF 3,000.

The new implementation regulations governing the two approaches to publication funding are available on the SNSF website.

The webpage concerning the new publication grants will be published on 22 June 2014.