HOPE Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I apply for funds?

Articles submitted for publication after Sept. 1, 2009 are eligible for this program. Requests for funding may be made before an article is accepted or immediately upon acceptance, by completing this form. You'll also need to make sure that you have deposited a copy of the article in the DASH repository before the reimbursement can be made.

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Q: Who is eligible to receive funds?

Funds are available for researchers at Harvard schools that have instituted an open-access policy. Faculty, researchers, staff, and students may request reimbursement for articles connected with their research activities at these schools. Funds for HMS affiliates are limited to quad-based faculty, researchers, staff, and students.

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Q: What fees can the fund reimburse?

Reimbursable article-processing fees may include publication fees (charges levied on articles accepted for publication, including page charges), and submission fees (charges levied on articles submitted for publication). Eligible fees must be based on a publication's standard fee schedule that is independent of the author's institution.

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Q: What publication venues are eligible?

The venue of publication must be an established open-access journal, that is, a journal that does not charge readers or their institutions for unfettered access to the peer-reviewed articles that it publishes.

Journals with a hybrid open-access model or delayed open-access model are not eligible. To be eligible, a journal must meet these additional requirements:

  • Be listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (unless the journal is too new for DOAJ eligibility),
  • Be a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or adhere to its Code of Conduct,
  • Have publicly available a standard article fee schedule,
  • Have a policy to substantially waive fees in case of economic hardship. Currently, all of the major open-access publishers satisfy these conditions.

We trust requesters to make appropriate decisions about the quality of the publication venue and the value of its services in relation to the fees it charges. As we gain experience with administering the fund, we may institute further procedures for vetting venues.

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Q: What if the research in the article was grant-funded?

Articles for which alternative funding is available are not eligible for reimbursement. This includes articles reporting research funded by a gift or a grant from a granting agency, foundation, or other institution (including Harvard itself) that allows granted funds to be used for article processing fees (whether or not the particular grant had budgeted for such fees and whether or not sufficient grant funds remain), and articles funded by an institution that itself pays article processing fees on behalf of the author (such as Wellcome Trust).

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Q: What limits on reimbursement are there?

There is a nominal limit on the total reimbursement per article of $3,000, though there are no known eligible journals with fees that reach the cap. The average publication fee for fee-based open-access journals is approximately one-third of the cap.

There is no limit on the number of articles reimbursed, except that authors may receive reimbursement for up to a total of $3,000 per fiscal year for all article processing fees. Reimbursement can cover 100% of fees up to the cap. Unused amounts do not roll over to future years. Exceptions to the $3,000 cap may be made based on availability of funds.

We expect, based on the experience of similar funds, that the total outlay of funds in the near term will be minimal, and do not expect to have to limit disbursements further. However, should demand for funds exceed expectations, we may limit access to funds on a first-come-first-served basis. As we gain experience with the process, the method for calculating reimbursement and limitations thereon may be changed over time.

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Q: What if there are multiple authors on an article?

In the case of an article with multiple authors, each author is responsible for a prorated portion of any publishing fees. For example, for an article with three authors that is to appear in a journal with a $3,000 publication fee, each author is responsible for $1,000 of that fee. If two of the authors are eligible for reimbursement, they may enter an application for $2,000. If the journal were to have a $6,000 publication fee, the $3,000 per article cap will apply and the two eligible authors may only apply for $2,000 each.

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Q: What is the tax status of reimbursements?

For Harvard employees, such as faculty members or paid researchers, 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 HOPE 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-employee students, the payment or reimbursement of the fees would not be deemed a "working condition fringe", but rather, scholarship or fellowship payments, which are subject to tax under Code Section 117 unless used for qualified tuition and related expenses. Reimbursements thus may be taxable. For U.S. persons, there is no requirement for Harvard to withhold on, or report the amount of, such fellowship payments; any required reporting is done by the recipients on their individual returns. For non-U.S. persons, taxable amounts are subject to reporting on a Form 1042-S, and are subject to withholding, subject to any income tax treaties with the recipient's country of residence, in the same manner as any other fellowship payment to such individuals provided by the University.

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Q: Who decides other aspects of the fund's implementation?

Implementation of the fund and reimbursement process is handled by the Office for Scholarly Communication, operating under the advisement of the OSC Faculty Advisory Committee.

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Q: Is information about the fund's use available?

Yes, information about fund reimbursements will be made publicly available by the OSC through this web site. A list of HOPE-funded articles is maintained at https://osc.hul.harvard.edu/programs/hope/awards/.

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