Mason Libraries Expand Support for Sustainable Open Access Publishing

The Mason Libraries are changing how we support open access (OA) publishing. We are pivoting from paying OA fees for a limited number of individual articles each year to investing in collective action initiatives that fund hundreds of OA publications. OA publishing makes scholarly articles freely available online, so that anyone, regardless of their institutional affiliation, can read articles free of charge. By supporting OA, the Mason Libraries contribute to making the results of academic research available to researchers, learners, and policymakers around the world.

From 2012 to 2023, the Libraries supported OA publishing by helping Mason researchers cover the fees some journals charge to make an article OA. These OA fees range from a few hundred dollars to over ten thousand dollars per article. Mason students and faculty without grant funding could apply for financial assistance via the Libraries’ Open Access Publishing Fund (OAPF). In its ten years of operation, the OAPF contributed almost $400,000 towards over 300 OA journal articles with Mason corresponding authors.

While the OAPF was impactful at the individual level, it could not advance system-level change in scholarly publishing. Today there are many more options for supporting OA, including options that reject the idea of charging authors fees to publish OA. The University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and other research universities have already retired their OA article publishing funds in favor of more sustainable, scalable, and equitable channels.

After a decade of supporting faculty and student publications, therefore, the OAPF will be redirected to support three high-impact, collective action approaches to OA. First, the libraries will contribute to “Diamond” OA initiatives that charge no fees to authors or readers, such as MIT Press’s Direct 2 Open. Second, we will participate in innovative “read and publish” agreements negotiated by VIVA, our statewide academic library consortium. These agreements cover both subscription access to a publisher’s journals and OA publishing fees in that publisher’s journals for all VIVA authors. Finally, we will continue to support OA infrastructure programs such as ArXiv e-print archive.

Going forward, Mason authors will continue to enjoy options for fee-free and discounted OA publishing via VIVA’s read and publish agreements and any additional agreements that can be negotiated by the Mason Libraries on their own. These deals provide full funding for all OA articles, where the OAPF could only cover a portion of more costly fees. In 2022 alone, VIVA’s state-wide agreement with Wiley funded 49 Mason-authored OA articles, amounting to over $150,000 in APCs. In the same year, VIVA’s agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery funded 47 Mason-authored OA articles, valued at an estimated $70,000. By working at scale with other Virginia institutions, Mason Libraries’ collections funding can go further, providing far more OA capacity than has been possible through the article-level impact of the OAPF.

As of January 2023, Mason authors may publish OA journal articles at no cost through VIVA’s read and publish agreements with the following publishers:

  • Association for Computing Machinery
  • Cambridge University Press
  • Institute of Physics
  • International Water Association
  • Rockefeller University Press
  • Wiley

In addition, Mason authors may deposit their preprints or eligible published work in our institutional repository, Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS).

The Libraries are committed to advancing sustainable, scholar-led, not-for-profit, and fee-free open access. Email to learn how the Libraries can help you open up your work to a wider world of readers and increased impact.

VIVA Open Course Grant Announcement

VIVA is excited to announce the Request for Proposals for the next round of VIVA Open Course Grants (formerly Course Redesign Grants) is officially open! Applications are due February 23, 2022, and award notification will take place on May 20, 2022.

VIVA Open Course Grants are designed to empower Virginia faculty with the resources and time they need to design or update courses to include open, no cost, or library materials. Open Course Grant recipients are awarded $2,000 – $30,000 to adopt, adapt, or create a resource and pilot them in a course by spring, 2025.

Faculty members at any VIVA institution, full or part-time, may apply. Proposals may involve one person or teams that include: teaching faculty, librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers, or others as needed. Multi-institutional teams are particularly encouraged. 

More information, including the full Request for Proposals and application instructions are available at  A list of past grant recipients can also be found on that page.

Webinars will be held at the following times, and will include a general introduction to the grants, the application process, and a Q&A:

Successful applications will be selected on the basis of: 

  • Potential for student savings, including class enrollment and existing resource costs
  • Use of Open Educational Resources (freely available and free to be modified)
  • Frequency of course offering, with a preference for high-enrollment, required courses, and/or courses that are part of the SCHEV Passport or Transfer Virginia Programs
  • Impact of the project on open education, such as the development of high quality resources in areas for which no other open content is currently available
  • Impact on educational equity and outcomes in traditionally underserved communities
  • Preference for statewide reach through multi-institutional efforts
  • Commitment to continue offering the course for future years
  • Agreement to the terms of the grant and required activities

*VIVA is funded by the Virginia General Assembly and VIVA member institutions, and is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). 

For faculty developing a syllabus for a new course or simply updating a syllabus for a new semester, we hope that these grants offer an opportunity to look to open and no-cost course materials to improve student engagement and course outcomes. Applicants are encouraged to contact VIVA at with questions, to talk through project ideas, or for feedback on application drafts. 

Open Access Week Spotlight: New VIVA Read & Publish Agreements Take Effect in 2022

Beginning January 1, 2022, Mason researchers will have two additional avenues for no-fee OA article publishing, through VIVA’s read and publish agreements with Wiley and Rockefeller University Press.   

VIVA, the academic library consortium of Virginia, has signed two read and publish agreements to take effect on January 1, 2022. The first is a reinstatement (and expansion) of VIVA’s previous OA agreement with major academic publisher Wiley, which runs from January 2022 to December 2024. The second is a two-year deal with Rockefeller University Press (RUP) ending in December 2023. 

Both agreements provide for “read” access to journals from these publishers, as well as zero-fee OA publishing for corresponding authors affiliated with VIVA institutions. VIVA’s previous Wiley agreement covered only Gold OA journals, that is, journals in which all articles are published OA for a fee. The new agreement covers article processing fees (APCs) for all Gold OA journals, and, while funds last, for hybrid journals. Authors with grant funds that can be used to cover OA publication costs are asked to use these funds in lieu of requesting VIVA funds so that funds are available to Virginia authors who do not have grant funding. 

The Libraries will provide more information about how to take advantage of these new agreements in January. In the meantime, please contact your subject librarian or email Helen McManus, Head of Collections Strategy, at, with questions. 

Resource of the week: Oxford Scholarship Online

Oxford Scholarship Online is a vast and rapidly-expanding online library, providing easy access to thousands of books from the world-renowned scholarly list of Oxford University Press. Spanning subjects across the humanities, social sciences, sciences, medicine, and law, Oxford Scholarship Online is an essential research resource for student, scholar, and academic alike, no matter what their subject specialty. The resource contains cutting-edge works from up-and-coming academics, alongside the classic scholarship of established and award-winning names, including Nobel Laureates.

Oxford Scholarship Online is available to our library via VIVA, Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium. Access here.

VIVA Open Adopt Grants – applications due Oct. 4

VIVA Open Adopt Grants provide awards of $2,000 to individual instructors to support the time it takes to integrate existing open or no-cost materials into a syllabus, and to ensure that the results of those efforts are widely available to Virginia educators.

Instructors interested in applying for this opportunity are encouraged to explore VIVA’s repository of Open Education Resources, VIVA Open, to discover open resources that may be of use in their courses. Applicants do not need to choose a resource listed in VIVA Open to apply for the grant.

Team and departmental adoptions, as well as projects seeking to adapt or create new Open Educational Resources, should apply for the larger scale VIVA Open Course Grants.

Applications are due October 4, 2021 via email at Notification of award recipients will take place by November 12, 2021. Adopted course materials must be piloted in the classroom by spring, 2023.

Learn more at Register for an upcoming informational webinar on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 9:30 am: Advance registration is required.

Questions about all VIVA Open grants can be sent to