In January 2020, University of California (UC) and JMIR Publications announced that they had entered into an open access publishing agreement that will make it more affordable for UC authors to publish in JMIR’s family of open access journals, including its flagship title, Journal of Medical Internet Research. JMIR publishes more than 30 journals, all of which are fully open access.

In brief, the UC libraries are providing funding to help cover open access publishing fees for UC authors who publish with JMIR Publications. This agreement has two goals: (1) to support UC’s mission as a public university and advance the global shift toward sustainable open access publishing by making more UC-authored publications open to the world, and (2) to make the author choice to publish with a native open access publisher an affordable and attractive option.

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Agreement Basics

What are the basic terms of the agreement?

All journals published by JMIR Publications are fully open access journals. Upon article acceptance, JMIR asks corresponding authors to pay an article processing fee (or APF, sometimes referred to as an article processing charge, or APC, by other publishers). As an open access publisher, these fees are how JMIR covers the cost of publishing its journals. UC’s agreement with JMIR Publications is a two-year institutional membership through which the  UC Libraries can provide UC authors with funding support to help cover those fees, including:

  • Partial coverage of the APF for UC authors who have access to grant funding 
  • Full coverage of the APF for UC authors who do not have access to grant funding

The goal of this cost-sharing model is to stretch the UC libraries’ available funds and help as many authors as possible, with the goal of ensuring that lack of research funds does not present a barrier for UC authors who wish to publish in JMIR’s open access journals.

When does the agreement start?

The agreement applies to UC-affiliated corresponding authors whose articles are submitted or accepted for publication between December 23, 2019 and December 31, 2024.

How does the agreement work?

UC Libraries will pay the first $1,000 towards the APF for all articles with a UC corresponding author that are submitted or accepted for publication between Dec 23, 2019 and December 31, 2024. Authors who have access to grant funding will then be asked to contribute the remainder of the publication fee from their grants if they are able to do so. 

For those UC authors without access to grant funding, the UC libraries will pay the full article processing fee. These authors will receive a link to a funding request form in the article acceptance email from JMIR; the form is also available on the JMIR site. The UC author must complete and submit this form in order for the article to be published; it is JMIR’s standard practice to defer publication until payment details are complete.

To be eligible for either level of support, the corresponding author must be affiliated with one of the 10 UC campuses, UCOP, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Why did UC enter into this agreement?

This agreement supports UC’s mission as a public university to make more UC research open to the world by making it easier and more affordable for UC authors to publish with a fully open access publisher like JMIR Publications. 

UC faculty committees have set the libraries’ course for achieving these goals by urging us to work towards redirecting funds from subscriptions to open access publication. Guiding faculty statements and messaging include:

UC recognizes that there are many pathways to open access publishing of research. Through this membership with JMIR Publications, the UC adds another option for our authors who want to make their work freely and openly available, regardless of whether they have funds available to pay the article processing charge.

Why do we think this model will sustainably promote open access?

The transition to an open access publishing world requires investment in and support for multiple strategies. By subsidizing fees for authors who want to publish in open access journals like JMIR’s, UC is striving to make it easier and more affordable for UC authors to choose open access publishing of their research. Such opportunities also exemplify UC’s commitment to establish a broad portfolio of open access agreements with publishers of all types and sizes, and to encourage the development of affordable open access publishing outlets.

Impact for Authors

Why should I publish open access?

The mission of the University of California is to “provide long-term benefits to society through transmitting advanced knowledge, discovering new knowledge, and functioning as an active working repository of organized knowledge.” Open access publishing, which makes more of the research generated by UC scholars freely available, fulfills our mission by transmitting knowledge more broadly and facilitating new discoveries that build on our scholars’ work.

As stated in its Open Access Policy, UC’s systemwide faculty Senate recognizes “the benefits that accrue to themselves as individual scholars and to the scholarly enterprise from such wide dissemination, including greater recognition, more thorough review, consideration and critique, and a general increase in scientific, scholarly and critical knowledge.”

You can read more about the value of open access and UC’s efforts to support it on our companion page, Moving Towards Open Access.

Am I affected by this agreement?

Yes, if you (1) are a UC affiliate (faculty, lecturer, staff, graduate student), (2) are the article’s corresponding author, and (3) choose to publish your article in a journal from JMIR Publications. The corresponding author must be from one of the 10 UC campuses, UCOP, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, or the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 

Who is considered a corresponding author?

The corresponding author is the person who oversees the manuscript and correspondence during the publication process – from manuscript corrections and proofreading, to handling the revisions and re-submission of revised manuscripts up to the acceptance of the manuscripts. It is the corresponding author who has the authority to act on behalf of all co-authors in all matters pertaining to publication of the manuscript including supplementary material. The corresponding author is also responsible for obtaining such agreements and for informing the co-authors of the manuscript’s status throughout the submission, review, and publication process. In addition, the corresponding author acts as the point of contact for any inquiries after the paper is published. JMIR allows the corresponding author to designate another individual to complete the submissions and handle communications, but to be eligible for funding under this agreement, the corresponding author must be a UC affiliate.

Why am I being asked to use grant money?

The UC libraries have agreed to pay a substantial share of the article processing charge, including a full payment if authors do not have grant funds available. However, the libraries’ budget alone cannot cover the full cost of all open access publications for all UC authors.

In general, publication costs are allowed to be charged to federal and private grants in the U.S. By contributing grant funds, particularly from federal agencies, UC authors demonstrate their commitment to making their publicly-funded research accessible to the public. Such payment is compliant with federal public access policies (although other routes to compliance, such as green open access deposit, are also available to authors). Additionally, participating in this way expands the pool of available funds for UC authors who do not have grant funding available to support their open access publishing.

What if I don’t have any grant money? Can I still publish with JMIR?

Yes. If you do not have grant money (or your grant is insufficient to pay the remaining article processing fee after the library contribution) and you want to publish your article in one of JMIR’s open access journals, the UC libraries will pay your full APF.

Are all articles from JMIR Publications included in this agreement?

Yes, all JMIR article types and journals are included in the agreement with UC. 

Article Payment Process

What do I have to do to arrange payment?

During the manuscript submission process, JMIR asks you (the corresponding author) how you will cover the article processing fee (APF), should your manuscript be accepted for publication.

  1. The submission system will identify you as a UC-affiliated author either by recognizing your email domain or by your providing a UC affiliation.
  2. Based on this affiliation check, you will be presented with a screen that indicates there is a reduced APF because of the agreement the UC has entered into with JMIR. 
  3. If your article is accepted, JMIR will include payment details in the acceptance letter. The amount will reflect the support you receive under the UC agreement.

    If you have research funds available to pay the balance of the publication fee, JMIR will invoice you the publication fee minus $1000 if and when your article is accepted for publication.

    If you do not have research funds available to pay the balance of the publication fee, you will need to fill out a funding request form (available on JMIR’s UC support page and also linked from the acceptance email).  JMIR will invoice the UC libraries directly for the full amount if and when your article is accepted for publication, and you will not receive an invoice.
  4. Please note that in order for the publication process to move forward, you either must submit payment on the balance (if you are able) or submit the payment request form (seeking UC libraries contribution). 


What if I have questions or need help?

Last updated March 6, 2024.