May 16, 2022

Open Access: Public Library of Science (PLOS) Updates and Streamlines Fee Waiver Program

From a Public Library of Science Blog Post by David Knutson:

PLOS believes that lack of funds should not be a barrier to Open Access publication. The organization facilitates this objective in two ways. First, PLOS provides full or partial fee support to individual authors. Second, PLOS assists institutions in providing financial support for their researchers.


In 2012, PLOS provided a total of $3.8 million in individual fee support to its authors. To encourage authors to become more aware of and make full use of funding sources that are available to them, and to ensure that PLOS financial assistance is allocated to authors with demonstrated need, PLOS has updated and streamlined its fee waiver program.


Under PLOS’ newly-named Publication Fee Assistance program (PFA):

  • An author’s application for PFA will be made upon manuscript submission with disposition usually within 10 business days (previously, authors requested fee assistance at the time of article acceptance and invoicing).
  • PLOS expects authors to exhaust all alternative funding sources before applying for PFA.
  • A new, standard PFA application will contain questions to guide authors to investigate available funding sources. For example, authors in the UK will be asked to investigate their eligibility for RCUK funds.
  • Funding disclosure information provided by authors will be used as part of the PFA application review.
  • Up-to-date information is provided on the PLOS website, detailing PLOS’ institutional program participation with links to additional Open Access funds for which authors may be eligible.

As previously, information about an applicant’s application for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers. PLOS publication decisions will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria.

Direct to PFA FAQ

Knutson’s post also includes info about PLOS Institutional Programs (limited to research primarily funded from low- and middle-income countries) and PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI).

Read the Complete Blog Post

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.