Don’t have money for high publishing fees? Don’t worry. There are many ways to reduce costs and make open publishing affordable. In some cases, publishing openly can cost the same or less than traditional publishing.
As of 2014, over 70% of journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals did not charge authors to publish. For reference, see this article by West et al. on "cost effectiveness of open access publications" [pdf].
Notable examples of open access journals who do not currently charge fees include:
Many open access journals charge publishing fees of less than $500 (U.S. dollars). These fees are often lower than the submission, page, and color figure charges levied by many subscription journals.
PeerJ has lifetime publishing plans from $99 per author.
SAGE Open charges $395 per article.
Ubiquity Press open access journals average ~$500 per article.
But it's important to note that researchers in any country can request a fee waiver if unable to pay.
Examples of publisher fee waiver policies (non-exhaustive list):
BioMed Central’s open access waiver fund
Hindawi’s waiver policy
PeerJ’s fee waiver policy
Memberships can cover some or all the publication costs for authors belonging to that institution. Check with your library!
Examples of publishers offering institutional memberships (non-exhaustive list):
F1000Research offers prepay institutional packages with varying discounts.
Find out about Hindawi memberships, and search the list of member institutions.
Learn about PeerJ's institutional plans and check if your institution is listed.
PLOS offers an institutional fee support program.
An increasing number of institutions are providing funds for students and faculty to publish in open access journals. Refer to this 'Open Access Funds' resource from SPARC, particulary the 'Funds in Action' [pdf]. Or, see this searchable database from PLOS. You can also check with your library.
For researchers in the UK, the Charity Open Access Fund – a collaboration between Arthritis Research UK, Breast Cancer Now, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Bloodwise, Parkinson’s UK and the Wellcome Trust – provides grants to institutions to cover OA publishing fees. You can check recipient institutions. Research Councils UK also provides block grants to institutions to cover OA fees. Check this list of recipients [pdf].
Many funders also allow researchers to write publishing fees directly into their grants.
Remember…publishing with many subscription journals is not free. There are submission fees, page charges, costs for color figures. And what do you get for your money? Paywalled content that many can’t access, and you often have to ask permission from the publisher to reuse your own work.
With open publishing, you retain your author rights and the world can read your work - that's better value for your money!