COAP Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the COAP Fund?

The Cornell Open-Access Publication (COAP) Fund is a pilot project to support new experiments in scholarly publishing. COAP supports faculty members who want to make their journal articles free to all readers immediately upon publication by paying reasonable publication and submission fees required of open-access journals. COAP is part of the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity.

2. What is the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity?

The Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity is a consortium of universities that have committed to supporting new business models for scholarly publishing by “underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.”

3. Who is funding COAP?

COAP is jointly funded by the Provost and Cornell University Library.

4. Why is this initiative needed?

Currently, scholarly journals are supported through a combination of page fees and subscriptions. If these journals are to convert to open access, they must be assured that there is available a steady stream of revenue from author fees. COAP, along with publication subsidies from granting agencies, can help provide that assurance.

5. Isn’t author self-archiving good enough?

Author self-archiving is becoming an important part of the scholarly communication process. The Library supports multiple repositories, including eCommons@Cornell and Digital Commons@ILR, in which authors can post their accepted manuscripts. The Library also supports subject repositories such as arXiv and PubMed Central that also make author manuscripts freely available. Most author self-archiving initiatives, however, do not post the version of the research as published. The University appreciates and values the contributions that publishers add to the scholarly communication system.

6. Are Cornell authors being told where they can publish?

No. Authors are free to publish wherever they want. Their choice is only restricted if they wish to apply for COAP funds to support open-access publication. If they wish to use COAP funds, then they must select a journal that complies with the program’s eligibility requirements.

7. Are there programs similar to the COAP Fund at other institutions?

See the COPE site for a current list of COPE signatories.


8. Who is eligible for funding?

Cornell faculty, post-doctoral researchers, graduate and professional students, staff members, and students. At this time, Cornell alumni are not eligible unless they are currently employed or attending school at Cornell.

9. What is eligible for funding?

Scholarly articles that are published in open-access journals. The journals must be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals; be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or adhere to its Code of Conduct; provide unfettered access to all peer-reviewed articles; have publicly available a standard article fee schedule; and have a policy to waive fees in the case of economic hardship.

10. Who determines whether a journal is eligible?

Authors must attest when applying for funds that the journal complies with all COAP eligibility requirements.

11. Are “hybrid” open-access journals eligible?

Hybrid open-access journals either allow authors to purchase open access on an article-by-article basis or allow open-access after a delay. Hybrid journals are not eligible for COAP funding. Only journals that do not charge readers or institutions for access to peer-reviewed content are eligible for COAP funds. (Journals may, however, have subscription options for non-peer-reviewed content such as letters to the editor, news stories, book reviews, etc.).

12. Can COAP be used to support the publication of formats other than journal articles such as open-access conference presentations and monographs?

Not at this time. COAP funds are for journal articles only.

13. Are there limits on the amount that can be requested?

An author may request up to $3,000 per article and up to $3,000 per author in the course of an academic year.

14. What fees are eligible for reimbursement?

Publication charges can encompass some or all of the fees charged by a publisher for article processing services, such as submission fees, article publication fees proper, page charges, and illustration fees (both for color and black and white).

15. What is the tax status of COAP Fund disbursements?

Although, Cornell cannot act as an individual's tax adviser we are providing some general information about support under COAP.

For Cornell employees, such as faculty members, paid researchers, and staff, the payment or reimbursement of open-access publication fees may reasonably be viewed as a "working condition fringe" (defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 132 as any property or service provided by an employer to an employee to the extent that, if the employee paid for the property or service, the payment would represent a deductible employee business expense). Since working condition fringe benefits are excludible from income, amounts reimbursed to employees from the COAP Fund would not be includible in income on the employee's Form W-2, and would not be subject to any reporting or withholding.

For non-employees (e.g. students, post doc "fellows", etc.) the payment or reimbursement of the fees does qualify as a "working condition fringe." The University treats such support as scholarship or fellowship payments, subject to tax under Code Section 117. Note: For U.S. persons, there is no requirement for Cornell to withhold on, or report the amount of such fellowship payments; any required reporting is done by the recipients on their individual returns. For foreign nationals who are non-resident aliens, the support is subject to reporting on a Form 1042-S. The support is also subject to U.S. income tax withholding unless exempt under an income tax treaty with the recipient's country of residence, in the same manner as any other fellowship payment to such individuals provided by the University.

16. Who decides which applications are funded?

COAP funds are authorized on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming that the author attests that all requirements have been met.

17. Do authors need to exhaust other funding sources that can be used to pay for submission fees before applying to the COAP Fund?

Yes. COAP is intended to be a funding source of last resort. Articles whose underlying research was funded by grants or gifts that allow funds to be used for article-processing fees (regardless of whether that particular grant budgeted for such fees) are not eligible for COAP funding.

18. Do funded authors also need to place their manuscript or article in eCommons or a similar Cornell institutional repository?

This is not required, but it is encouraged. Including the article in eCommons@Cornell, or one of Cornell’s institutional repositories, helps build a collection of Cornell-authored publications and gives the article an added element of preservation.

19. Is this likely to be funded permanently?

All aspects of this program, including the amount of funding committed to the program, will be analyzed and reviewed on a regular basis. If the pilot project proves to be valuable to scholarly communication, COAP may receive continued funding.

20. How do I apply?

The application form is available to Cornell NetID holders.