Dec 032010

The summary version of a report I wrote earlier this year for Knowledge Exchange on submission fees in open access journals has just been published on the KE website. (pdf)

Submission fees, in which an author pays a fee when submitting an article are already quite common in certain disciplines, notably economic and finance journals and in some areas of the experimental life sciences. The report found that that there could be benefits to publishers in certain cases (particularly for journals with high rejection rates) to switch to such a model. For high rejection rate journals one advantage would be that article processing charges could be kept much lower than they would otherwise have to be.

Overall there seems to be an interest in the model but the risks, particularly those involved in any transition, are seen by publishers to outweigh the perceived benefits. There is also a problem in that the advantages offered by submission fees are often general benefits that might improve the system but do not provide publishers and authors with direct incentives to change to open access. To support transition funders, institutions and publication funds could make it clear that submission fees would be an allowable cost. At present this is often unclear in their policies.

See also Open Access Submission Fees

Update 9/12/10: There’s a review and discussion of the report on the Scholarly Kitchen blog