Eligibility criteria for grant applications
When writing your open access book, you may be able to apply for funding from a grant-making organisation, your institution, or your research funder. Specific requirements for such applications vary widely, but you should be aware of certain common eligibility criteria.
The following list provides examples of common eligibility criteria for applications to fund open access books. Clarifying these with a funder as early as possible may facilitate the funding award process.
Proof of rigorous peer review
Many funders require the manuscript to be peer reviewed (See Peer review and quality assurance). Some simply require confirmation that the publisher has or will conduct standard peer reviewing. Others might require a copy of the peer reviews. Some funders are particular about who is an eligible peer reviewer and/or what version or proportion of the manuscript has been reviewed (see the FWF’s guidelines for an example of such requirements).
Proof of acceptance by a reputable publisher
Some funders require that the manuscript has been accepted by a reputable publisher before funding can be requested. They may request email confirmation or a brief letter of acceptance from the publisher, or even a copy of the book contract (see the Dutch Research Council (NWO) guidelines for an example of such requirements). They may also require proof that the publisher is compliant with certain international research or open access standards.
Where multiple authors contribute to an edited collection, funders or institutions may only offer funding for chapters where the affiliated researcher/grantee is an author. They may also restrict funding to cases where the affiliated researcher is an editor of the collection.
Where funds are provided/distributed by an institution, author eligibility may be determined by:
- institutional department;
- affiliation at the time the research was conducted;
- affiliation of co-authors: institutional funding may be restricted or pro-rated for books co-authored by researchers from different institutions, particularly if their institution provides a similar fund;
- availability of book processing charge (BPC) funding from alternative sources, e.g., research funders.
Where funds are provided by a research funder, eligibility may be determined by their grant programme or the country in which the research was conducted for national funders (Springer Nature, n.d.).
Terms of availability
Many funders, especially those with established open access policies or involvement in open access policy coalitions, such as Wellcome Trust, will have requirements regarding the type of open access licence under which the book is published (See Open access book policy landscape). The least restrictive Creative Commons licence, CC BY, is most widely accepted. Some funders also require deposition of the published book or chapter in a specific repository.
Benefits of open access
Funders may ask for details about the potential benefits of publishing your book open access, such as dissemination to a broader audience; greater impact within the field of research; and reaching key audiences that might otherwise not have access to the research. This toolkit also provides a summary of such benefits (See Why publish an open access book?). You may wish to enquire as to whether your chosen publisher can provide reports on the usage of your open access book.