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Some journals and conferences charge money before/after paper acceptance, similarly there are some which don't (like Open Access Journals). Does money matter in judging such journals/conferences before sending paper ? Unfortunately my organization is on a cost cutting and isn't funding for any such activities. Is there a list of journals which do not charge fees or charge modest fees, so that I can publish there on my own ?

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    I think this might depend on the field. In my subpart of computer science, if the journal asks for money, you don't publish with them. – Dave Clarke Jun 13 '13 at 17:36
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    agreed. if there are page charges, you do not publish, usually. (field: information science/HCI) – Shion Jun 13 '13 at 20:01
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    Is there a list of journals which do not charge fees or charge modest fees, so that I can publish there on my own? — If a journal charges to publish, it's probably a low-quality venue that nobody reads or cites. So conversely, the journals that you read and cite probably don't charge to publish. – JeffE Jun 14 '13 at 3:57
  • The same applies generally to my field - physics. – user7130 Jun 14 '13 at 6:56
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    I do not agree with your characterisation of open access. Open access means that there is no charge to access a paper. There can still be a charge to publish a paper. For example, open access journals by the European Geophysical Union charge for publication instead of for access. Either the money comes from publication charges, or from subscription charges, or a combination thereof. – gerrit Jun 14 '13 at 9:13
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I must disagree with the CS folks in the comments. Whether a journal charges or not is immaterial to the quality of the journal. You can only gauge its quality by being an active researcher in that field, not by silly metrics (this is an order of magnitude worse than impact factor).

Different journals from the same publishing house might also charge different rates for publications. For instance, AIP publishes both the Phys. Rev. series (+ PRL) and the J. Acoustical Society of America. While there are no charges for the former set, JASA has "voluntary" charges for publishing.

Such "voluntary" charges are very common (some flagship and top-of-the-line IEEE journals come to mind) and serves primarily as an opt-out for researchers from low income countries in Asia/Africa/S. America. Researchers in N. America, Europe and Australia/NZ are expected to pay the publishing charges, since with the way grants are structured in these countries, there is almost always a specific budget earmarked for publishing costs. Of course, if a researcher has no budget or is publishing in his spare time or as a secondary interest, then they're also welcome to not pay the charges, but I've never seen anyone that's on a grant decline to pay charges.

† Opinions on this site seem to be overrun by CS folks, who generally state them as facts of life. From my years of experience in a variety of fields, I've found their customs to be more of an outlier than the norm (perhaps only mathematics has something in common).

  • I know there are good journals which charge money after acceptance, but are there any which charge money before acceptance? Would your grant pay these charges if they reject your paper? – Peter Shor Jun 22 '13 at 14:32
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Generally speaking, whether a journal charges money for publication or not should not be a criterium for judging the quality of one journal compared to another one. Use other means for that, for example checking where good papers are published, the academic reputation of the editorial board, opinions of colleagues, and, yes, even numeric factors such as the impact factor of the journal.

There are very high-quality open access journals, for example the PLoS series of life science journals, but also no-quality open access journals, for example the ones produced by most of the publishers on Beall's list. Some very high-quality non-open access journals ask for page fees (or even submission fees, as I learnt recently), others don't.

I am not sure whether there is a specific list of journals which don't require paying fees, or an overview listing publication fees for a range of journals. There is the quite well-known SHERPA/Romeo list, which distinguishes between different levels of self-archiving. I guess most of the green journals (highest self-archiving rating) listed there will be open-access journals and ask for publishing fees, so you could go and check the other journals in more detail, by looking at their instructions for authors.

  • The SHERPA/Romeo list is about the self-archiving policies of various journals. It is not a database of open-access journals. The "green" journals in the list are not necessarily open-access journals. – Jukka Suomela Jun 14 '13 at 18:47
  • @JukkaSuomela you're right, I clarified this point in my answer. But I assume there will be a high correlation for a journal between being green in the SHERPA/Romeo list and being open access... – silvado Jun 14 '13 at 19:18

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