Sunday, July 13, 2014

Many Peer-Reviewed Journals Expect The Author To Pay For Publication

One of my readers mentioned this in response to a recent article about a recent scandal involving authors reviewing their own papers under false names, and I am now even more unimpressed than I was before.  My few experiences with peer-reviewed journal submissions game me the distinct impression that peer review is a method by which the established voices in the profession make sure that nothing too contrary to the orthodox thinking gets published.  The prospect of having to cough up several thousand dollars to get something published makes me even a bit more cynical than I was before.


  1. Caveat: I'm not a scientist, but my Dad was.

    My understand is that many science journals have long charged authors a per-page fee, and maybe other fees. Note that they tend to be owned by for-profit companies - most notably Elsevier (a former employer of mine).

    The Internet has been slow to disintermediate this business, but it is starting to accelerate. There are a lot of web publishing sites that are free and are curated enough to be considered academic quality.

    I don't think the fees are related to the orthodoxy maintenance function of the journals (and other academic practices).

  2. I first learned of page charges when doing research technical assistance in 1974. They are nothing new, and I believe are typically paid by the grant that funded the underlying research, or by the institution.

    That said, the journal industry seems increasingly racketeerish: many of the same players as the textbook oligopoly.

  3. Almost every scientific journal I know of requires page charges, and has for a long, long time. The author's institution is expected to pay, and typically the funds come from whatever research grant funded the study. In cases where the author is not associated with an institution, sometimes the page charges are waived -- and sometimes not.