Who pays the publication fees for your papers, when there is a fee? What if it’s a collaboration?

Who pays the publication fee for your papers, when there is one?

When the authors are all members of the same lab, I assume the PI ordinarily pays the fee if there is one. That’s certainly what I do.

Just recently I published an author-pays open access paper with a grad student whom I co-supervised with a colleague, and there’s a second such paper in the works. I had been hoping to split the publication fees with my colleague. But it may come down to whoever has the most grant money.

What about papers by working groups or other big collaborations? Who pays the publication fee then? Does whatever funding source paid for the working group also pay the publication fee? Or does some working group member pay the fee from one of their grants, or from some other source available to them such as an institutional open access fund? What if more than one person in the working group has the ability to pay? In that case I guess the first author, or the first author’s PI, would pay?

Same questions for the data hosting fees charged by some depositories, when depositing data associated with a publication.

ht to a correspondent for suggesting this post idea.

6 thoughts on “Who pays the publication fees for your papers, when there is a fee? What if it’s a collaboration?

  1. For me it’s usually down to whoever has the flushest grant at any given moment. That said, I’ve never had the slightest trouble agreeing on this. If I had a collaborator who was difficult about offering to pay page charges or APCs, I suspect they would be an ex-collaborator in short order 🙂

  2. Not everyone has access to grant funding for publishing and University funds for this can get depleted. I suspect that a lot of people submit to Elsevier et al because there are no author charges. The PeerJ per-author “subscription” model seems to be a viable alternative to the large per-paper charges of many open access journals.

  3. As a grad student who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with large grants (NSF, NERC, etc.), I would imagine that part of the grant proposal would be funding for page charges, but this seems hard to budget for i.e. having foresight into the types of journals the work will end up in, how many publications will result from the project, etc. I imagine you could just a give an estimate based off of a single journal’s page charges (we imagine we will get three publications in journals similar to Ecology at which the page charges are $XXX), but this still seems kind of odd. Any advice from senior researchers who have experience writing/reviewing grants?

    I’m also curious how grant reviewers might evaluate the researchers wanting to publish all of their work in open access journals which would lead to much higher total page charges for the grant.

    • I usually just say in my NSERC Discovery Grant budget statement that historically I’ve published ~X papers/year in journals with page charges or publication fees, so I’ve budgeted Y*X dollars/year for publication charges. But it’s not a big deal for me because in practice the amount of money I’m going to get is effectively independent of what I budget. I could *say* I plan to publish everything in open access journals so as to increase dissemination of my work (which btw is a questionable claim…), and so budget a bunch more for publication fees. But that wouldn’t get me any more money.

  4. Good timing, I’ve been thinking about this lately! During my last postdoc we published 2 OA papers and both were paid for out of the project grant. However, I’ve just had a short natural history note accepted in a journal with page charges and will likely pay for this out of my own pocket – I’ve just started a new postdoc with limited funds of my own and this paper wasn’t associated with any research grant.

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