Feature Article — New Financial Support for Academic Publishing

The OUHK has recently offered a new grant for academic publishing, covering the language editing and publication fees of staff’s journal articles. This article offers a background of this new initiative, looking into the importance of language quality in academic publishing, as well as the latest development in publication fees of journals related particularly to the rising trend of open-access (OA) publishing. It then provides more details on the new grant which supports staff for publishing quality scholarly work.

The importance of language quality in academic publishing

In academic publishing, English-medium publications in general have a higher impact. Until 2015, around 97%, 95% and 73% respectively of the papers in the three Web of Science’s citation indices (Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index) were in English (Liu, 2017). However, the language requirement of publishers poses challenges for some researchers in meeting the quality required. Poor language quality has been shown as one of the major reasons for the rejection of manuscripts submitted to journals (Lamb & Mai, 2015; Springer, n.d.). Academic publishers usually emphasize the importance of writing with an acceptable standard of English, and recommend the use of professional language editing services, if needed, to enhance the language quality of manuscripts (e.g. Elsevier, n.d.; Emerald Publishing, n.d.).

Changing practice for publication fees in academic publishing

It is a common practice for journals in some fields to charge authors a variety of fees to cover publishing costs. Examples include an article submission fee prior to peer review, and a charge on an article by the publisher. OA journals have become increasingly popular in the last two decades, and some of them have an article processing charge (APC) for accepting articles. APC has gradually become a major type of publication fee. On 31 March 2017, there were 9,358 journals and 2,459,798 articles listed on the Directory of Open Access Journals (a comprehensive database of OA journals and articles), compared with 1,370 journals and 100,697 articles in 2010 (Solomon & Björk, 2012). Among these OA journals, 2,326 journals had an APC. Solomon & Björk (2012) have also shown that journals with high impact factors tend to have higher APCs.

The University’s support

The grant offered by the University aims to encourage staff to participate actively in research activities and publish their findings, so as to enhance their professional and academic standing and help them to gain recognition for their scholarly work. The grant supports language editing of manuscripts prior to their submission to refereed journals; and it also covers various types of charges from journal publishers, including, if applicable, submission fees, page/colour printing charges, and article publishing/processing charges. Full-time academics who are the sole authors or the first (or corresponding) authors of articles to be submitted to, or accepted by, refereed journals are eligible to apply for the grant. For details of the grant and relevant documents, please refer to the page ‘Financial Support for Research Paper Publication’ on the URC website.


Elsevier. (n.d.). Guide for authors. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/journals/research-policy/0048-7333/guide-for-authors.

Emerald Publishing. (n.d.). How to prepare papers if English is not your first language. Retrieved from http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/guides/write/english.htm.

Lamb, C. R., & Mai, W. (2015). Acceptance rate and reasons for rejection of manuscripts submitted to Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound during 2012. Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound, 56(1), 103–108.

Liu, W. (2017). The changing role of non-English papers in scholarly communication: Evidence from Web of Science’s three journal citation indexes. Learned Publishing, 30(2), 115–123.

Plo-Alastrué, R., & Pérez-Llantada, C. (Eds.) (2015). English as a scientific and research language: Debates and discourses. Walter de Gruyter.

Solomon, D. J., & Björk, B. (2012). A study of open access journals using article processing charges. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(8), 1485–1495.



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