Reduce publishing costs

Open publishing can be low-cost to no-cost.

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.

How can you reduce costs?

1. Find a no-cost open access journal

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:

2. Find a low-cost open access journal

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.

3. Request a waiver

Do you work in a country classified by the World Bank as low income or lower-middle income? You may be eligible for an automatic full or partial fee waiver at many open access journals.

Source: By Mangwanani, via Wikimedia Commons, license GFDL. Blue - high income; green - upper-middle income; purple - lower-middle income;
red - low income. (Note: Image based on 2008 data, some countries may have changed status.)

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

Global Participation Initiative

4. Check if your institution has an open access publisher membership

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):

BioMed Central has several different types of membership. Search the member list by country.

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.

5. Check if your institution has an open access fund

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.

6. Talk with your funding agency

Many funders now provide open access publishing fee assistance. Searchable databases from Nature or from PLOS allow authors to search by country for funders with such programs.

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.

7. Self-archive your work openly

If none of the above options work, you can always publish in the journal of your choice and self-archive your work openly at no cost. See our 'Publish where you want' page for more information.

Want a modifiable slide to sum up these options?

Get better value for your money

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!