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My PhD advisor and lab colleagues think that Springer, IEEE and Elsevier journals non-open-access charge authors for submitting a paper. (They usually only publish in local journals.) All the info I've found points to the contrary (except for "gold" open access journals, which do charge authors), but all I've found are people commenting on particular journals saying that they do not charge.

I'm sorry if it's a stupid question, but I can't for the life of me find any definitive yes/no information online. (I don't have a concrete journal in mind since this all started because we are looking for one, but it'd have to be a machine learning/artificial intelligence journal.) Do Springer, IEEE and Elsevier journals charge a submission fee for their non-open-access journals?

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Sorry, but I don't think it's in the spirit of the website to ask people to do Google work for you, in order to resolve a trivial dispute. –  jwg Mar 28 '14 at 8:56
I did search; but given that: my research advisor and 4 other researchers in a research group I've recently joined (my first) were convinced there were charges; and that none of the journals I checked explicitely said there were no fees whatsoever to publish, it wasn't trivial to me. –  facuq Mar 28 '14 at 17:02
academia.stackexchange.com/questions/18625/… –  user32227 Mar 25 at 6:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I agree with the other answers, but they are anecdotal, and you asked for some "definitive" answers to help you convince your colleagues and advisor. Here's what I found:


None of the IEEE journals has a required charge for non-open access publications.

The publication FAQ says:

For a detailed listing of paper charges by publication, download the List of Voluntary and Overlength Paper Charges (PDF, 287 KB).

Here is the current version of that list. You will note that some journals have "voluntary" page charges and many have "overlength" page charges. But none have required page charges for normal-length papers (in fact, there is not even a category in the document for such charges).

(The document also does not include the recently added IEEE open access options, which do have required charges, which are listed here.)


The Springer author FAQ asks


The answer there is:

For the majority of Springer journals, publishing an article is free of charge.

  • If a journal requires page charges, you will find them on the journal's springer.com homepage or in its Instructions for Authors.
  • Charges might apply e.g. for color figures or over-length articles. The information on these extra costs will also be available from the journal's homepage or its Instructions for Authors.
  • Charges for open access articles: If you choose to publish an open access article ("Springer Open Choice" article or in a "SpringerOpen" journal), there will be an Article Processing Charge (APC) to be paid by the author. As a consequence, the article can be freely read, downloaded or distributed from SpringerOpen.com and SpringerLink.com by any internet user.

Furthermore, even for open-access journals, Springer advises:

SpringerOpen journals routinely waive charges for authors from low-income countries; and individual waiver requests are considered on the grounds of hardship on a case-by-case basis.

Another Springer FAQ titled Why publish with Springer? claims:

Page charges do not exist.

which I think is as close to "definitive" as you can get.


Some Elsevier journals do have author charges, and by searching the Elsevier site I did find a (very) few non-open journals with required page charges. I did not find any in CS with author charges, though.

The official policy I found is:

I am submitting my paper to one of your journals. How do I find out if there are page charges associated with this journal?

Page charges are journal specific. Many journals do not have page charges for submitted papers.

To determine whether the journal to which you are submitting has page charges, you will need to find the homepage for the journal and check it's specific submission instructions.

So if you're looking for a definitive "No page charges," Elsevier is not the answer. In practice, however, there are literally only a handful of non-open Elsevier journals that charge author fees.

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Looks contradictory to me: "If a journal requires page charges, you will find them" and "Charges might apply e.g. for color figures or over-length articles" vs "Page charges do not exist." (well, logically these are not mutually exclusive, but why mention the possibility if they do not exist?) –  David Roberts Mar 28 '14 at 6:41
@DavidRoberts I was just collecting all the policy statements I could find to go alongside the "experience" answers, I really don't know more than this. In practice I couldn't find a single non-open Springer journal with author charges. –  ff524 Mar 28 '14 at 6:48
@facuq The Springer journals do not usually say anything about charges, but the Springer policy is that "If a journal requires page charges, you will find them on the journal's springer.com homepage or in its Instructions for Authors." - so if there are no charges listed in those places, then the journal is free. –  ff524 Mar 28 '14 at 17:06
@facuq There are "overlength page charges," "color images in print version charges," and for open-access, "article processing charges." Hence the qualifier, "page charge" - which is the only charge that applies to not-open, not-overlength, not-color-print articles. –  ff524 Mar 28 '14 at 17:12
@ff524 Yes, thanks again, I understand that now. And given the prior that they don't charge, it makes sense. But if your prior is that they do charge, like mine was, it's not immediately clear that they don't; I kept thinking that maybe there were other charges besides those for page, color and openness. You have to asume they don't because they don't say they do and consider those three the only possible charges. You can't find instructions that say "Authors can publish articles for free as long as they are not-open, not-overlength, not-color-print". –  facuq Mar 28 '14 at 17:27

I have never paid for the publication of any journal paper, including papers in Springer, Elsevier, IEEE, ACM, SIAM, and AMS journals.

Some of those journals do advertise "page charges", but in my experience these are strictly voluntary. I've never paid them, and my papers were published anyway.

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Colored images in print sometimes have a fee as well. –  Andy W Mar 28 '14 at 2:02
The papers I have published in various IEEE journals have had voluntary page charges up to a certain page count, say 9 pages, after which you paid some per page fee which was mandatory. If I recall correctly, it was about $175 per page. –  Mad Jack Mar 28 '14 at 3:39
"Voluntary page charges"? Wow, I had never heard of such a thing. (I am in mathematics.) Does anyone pay them? –  Anonymous Mar 28 '14 at 3:51
@Anonymous: I have heard of such a thing, typically at non-profit open-access journals. (I am also in mathematics.) They ask that authors pay page charges to subsidize the operation of the journal, but if and only if the authors have grant money to use for that purpose. –  Mark Meckes Mar 28 '14 at 16:16

To be certain, you'd have to check the specific journal's author instructions.

However, I've published in two Elsevier and one Springer journal (in mathematics) and never paid an author fee. The Springer journal had an open access option, which would have had a fee, but we didn't choose that option.

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It's not uncommon for charges to come in disguise, e.g., this is from the IEEE:

A mandatory Excessive Paper Length charge of $200.00 per page (beginning with page 7 and beyond) is required for papers in excess of six (6) printed pages. The author will be notified of the estimated paper length upon receipt of the original manuscript. The author will be requested, conditional upon favorable technical review, to pay an optional sustaining page charge of $110 per printed page to cover the cost of publication of the first six pages and will receive 100 black/white (no color) reprints of the paper if this charge is honored. There will also be mandatory charges for color figures.

Now comes the catch: their average paper is more than six pages long and has at least one color figure. So in effect the majority of authors did end up being charged.

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Beside the above mentioned some journals (not necessarily of the above publishers) require a fee before reviewing your submission (sometimes only if you are not part of a society).

For instance the American Sociological Review charges a "$25.00 Non-refundable Manuscript Processing Fee."

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Around half the titles from the major commercial publishers (Springer, Wiley, etc) have (potential, & effectively optional) colour charges (Kiley). Very few of the commercial journals have page charges - usually for historic reasons - but they are still reasonably common among journals published by US scholarly societies (Curb & Abramson). Other fees (eg submission fees, revision fees, supplementary material fees, "picture on the cover" fees...) are generally rare but not unknown.

As a result, they're a significant issue in some fields, where page-charge journals are still common, but in others, you can go your entire career without ever encountering them. Hence the wide variation in answers...

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