KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access

In order to stimulate authors to publish their work in Fair OA, KU Leuven has established a Fund for Fair OA. This fund provides financial support to (partly) cover the publishing costs (Book Processing Charges or BPC) of eligible OA books. The KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access specifically allocates financial support to those authors/editors who do not dispose of (sufficient) resources to entirely cover the costs of an Open Access publication by their own means. Textbooks generally do not qualify for Open Access publication, and are therefore not eligible for support by the KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access.

Regardless of their affiliation, all authors can apply for financial support on the condition that their proposal has been accepted and approved by the editorial board of Leuven University Press.

Authors publishing in OA sign an Open Access license agreement with Leuven University Press. This license agreement enables them to retain the copyright to their work, rather than transferring rights to the publisher as is the case in a conventional publishing contract. Leuven University Press’s license agreements are in line with the Creative Commons licenses. Every license identifies the copyright holder (here: the author), and specifies the conditions for re-use of the work (i.e. the user’s rights).

Leuven University Press recommends the Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND International 4.0 , which allows for a work to be used and shared, while also ensuring that it cannot be modified or used commercially. However, if an author wishes to publish under another Creative Commons license this will be supported as well. Certain funding bodies that authors rely on to cover their own part of the BPC may require that a book be published under a particular licence.

Detailed information regarding all the Creative Commons licenses >

Authors can apply for 1/3, for 2/3 or even for 100% of the Book Processing Charges (BPC), depending on their affiliation (see infra).

As a not-for-profit press, Leuven University Press applies a fair and competitive price for its Open Access books, starting at a base cost of approx. 7000 EUR + VAT.

The BPC reflects the actual total cost of producing a digital book and covers:

  • pre-press services;
  • standard English language editing;
  • typesetting and layout;
  • marketing, distribution, and promotion;
  • hosting on the digital library platforms JSTOR, Project Muse, OAPEN, Open Research Library;
  • and inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB).


OA books also follow the same production and marketing trajectory as traditionally produced volumes. Alongside the freely available OA ebook (ePDF and ePUB), Leuven University Press also provides a printed version of the book for sale.

Not included in the BPC are, for instance:

  • lithography and image corrections;
  • copyright costs for images or text;
  • the purchase of high-resolution images.


The BPC is calculated separately for each book, depending on its word and image count, and complexity. Unlike in a traditional publishing scenario, this cost cannot be recovered through sales, and must therefore be covered upfront.

Regardless of their affiliation, all authors can apply for financial support on the condition that their proposal has been accepted and approved by the editorial board of Leuven University Press.

Authors not affiliated with KU Leuven can apply for 1/3 of the BPC and will have to provide the remaining 2/3 themselves (via alternative channels).

Authors affiliated with KU Leuven can apply for 2/3 of the BPC, the remaining 1/3 has to be financed by their own funds. Junior scholars at the start of their careercan apply for a fee waiver, thus effectively receiving financial support for the whole BPC. Requests by authors to be exempted from a fee are assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

  1. Only manuscripts that comply with the KU Leuven policy on authorship qualify for financial support from the Fund for Fair Open Access.
  2. All manuscripts will go through a peer review process with at least two external readers and a positive outcome is required. The Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content (GPRC) label will be added to the colophon of these books and are proof of the applied procedure.
  3. The support of the KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA must be mentioned in the publication.
  4. (Only for authors affiliated with KU Leuven) The author needs to make sure that his/her KU Leuven affiliation is correctly cited in order to assure that the publication can be counted in the BOF-Key (distribution criteria of the “Special Research Fund”)
  5. (Only for authors affiliated with KU Leuven) The final version of the book (i.e. the e-book as published by Leuven University Press) published with support of the KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA must be archived, at the time of appearance, in Lirias, the institutional repository of KU Leuven.

All manuscripts considered for publication by Leuven University Press, whether Open Access or not, are presented to the press’s editorial board. Therefore, submitting a manuscript to Leuven University Press is the first step. In the submission form you can indicate your interest in publishing in OA.

Following a positive advice from the editorial board, Leuven University Press will submit an application to the KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access Committee in agreement with the author. 

Submissions are reviewed quarterly (March, June, September, December) and authors will be notified about the outcome of their application following the Committee’s assessment.

A BPC can be granted while the manuscript is still under review, but the provisionally granted BPC will only be released when the review process has a positive outcome. Peer review is standard procedure; full manuscripts are sent to specialist readers for expert advice. Only when the scientific quality and merits of the manuscript have been positively evaluated by the external referees will the attributed BPC be released to publish the book in full Open Access with Leuven University Press.

For every book sponsored by the KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA you can view the readership data. These data give you an indication of how many times and where exactly in the world the book has been accessed and downloaded.

How these data are collected, what they can and cannot tell us, and why we should also be careful with metrics is explained in these blogposts.

Submissions and proposals
Readership data of our KU Leuven Fund for Fair OA titles
What’s in a number? A closer look at Open Access readership data
Creative Commons licenses
 Open Access @ KU Leuven

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