5 Ways to Save on Publication Costs

Quality research is expensive, but here are 5 ways to save when publishing your article.

Updated on March 7, 2020

cartoon piggy bank in a maze to illustrate different choices for meeting publication costs

Publication is an expensive process, and the choices you make when publishing your paper, such as seeking professional English editing, publishing open access, etc. can increase that initial cost. Below are 5 ways you can save money when publishing your research.

1. Subsidize Costs

Ask your institution, university library, or funder if they have resources to help cover publication costs. Additionally, Springer Nature provides a free open access support service where you can search and apply for funding to cover APCs (Article Processing Charges) or BPCs (Book Processing Charges).

If you cannot find a funder to cover publication costs and you are a researcher from a developing country, you can ask the publisher if they can waive the publication fee. If they don't waive it, they might be willing to work with you on a lower and more affordable rate.

Moreover, some institutions have partnerships with companies that offer reduced group prices. For example, if your article needs a translation or English language editing, your institution can become an AJE partner and receive a bulk discount for AJE's services.

2. Collaborate with Other Researchers

Working with researchers from other institutions not only promotes creativity, efficiency, and agility but also decreases costs. Because publication costs can be shared, you may be able to choose a higher impact journal with a gold Open Access (OA) option. If you are looking for international collaboration, check out this article on 30+ Research Funding Agencies that Support International Collaboration.

3. Save on Numbers of Pages, Figures, and Graphs

Making your article more concise may also decrease costs. Consider reducing the number of pages by cutting unnecessary words, sentences, or even paragraphs. To reduce the number of words, write leaner sentences by starting with the subject and using active verbs. For example, instead of “It was observed that the time for the reaction to complete was 15 min”, write “The reaction time was 15 min”. For more tips on reducing word counts, check out the following AJE Scholar articles:

Editing Tip: reducing word counts

Ways to Reduce the Word Count in an Abstract

More Easy Ways to Reduce Word Counts

More Suggestions for Concise Writing

Another way to save on publication costs is to reduce the number of figures. When possible, merge multiple graphs into one, and use grayscale graphs and figures instead of color, as long as there is no loss of data. Remember, it is important to always check your target journal's guidelines before making any drastic changes to figures or tables.

4. Choose your Target Journal Wisely

Depending on the Journal you choose, your publishing costs may range from ~ $100 to more than $5,000. If you do not wish to pay any fee, subscription-based journals often publish research papers free of charge. However, this “no fee” comes with a price tag: your article will be accessible only by those who have paid for a subscription to the journal, and you will need to transfer the copyright to the journal.

To increase visibility, you may choose to publish your article in an open access (OA) journal (also called gold OA) or archive a version of your article in an open access repository (green OA or self-archiving). Gold OA makes your work freely and immediately available on the publisher's website upon publication. Some subscription-based journals offer a choice of gold OA (hybrid journals) with the payment of an open access fee. Springer Nature provides a list of some hybrid journals.

If you choose a fully open access journal (gold OA), you can reduce your costs by choosing a more affordable journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (just type a keyword or click on a subject). However, if you choose green OA, your article will be made available in a repository other than the publisher's website and usually after an embargo period.

5. Self-Archive

Self-archiving or green OA means you upload a preprint version of your work before peer-review. Among other services, the Research Square preprint platform is one of the options to self-archive.

By choosing to self-archive in a preprint platform, you will get:

  • credit - your work will be permanently recorded in a scientific platform and will have an unique DOI
  • engagement - you will be able to see number of citations, numbers of views and downloads, and comments
  • feedback - other researchers can discover your work and make recommendations or even suggest a collaboration
  • visibility - your preprint will direct readers to your published article.

Please always check what your journal's pre-print policies are before deciding what works best for you.

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