Wiley journals request payment from authors who want an image to appear on the journal cover. Is this a common practice followed by many publishers? Why do authors pay the fee?

  • 7
    They pay because they want an image on the cover.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 19, 2018 at 5:13
  • This is not unheard of, and is field-dependent. A friend of mine, working in chemistry, was given that same offer (and was asked to actually produce the high-quality image herself). Oct 25, 2018 at 13:37

3 Answers 3


It's not that uncommon. Authors pay this charge mostly because they think having a cover image increases their reputation and/or impact. I don't know any study proving this assumption. Please let me know, if there are any.

Nevertheless, if an author wants to have a cover image, I always suggest to negotiate because this significantly decreases the amount of money the author has to pay, see e.g.

Similar story: Journal (a respected one) offered to use one of our images for their cover page. They wanted $1800. I said I don't have the money. They offered to do it for $900. I said no. In the end they put it on the cover for "free".

Source: Tweet be @rauscherMRI


In my experience, it's not common. Much more often the front page of the journal is a rather drab-looking, standard page that the journal uses again and again with minor changes. If the front page does vary, it's decided by the editors, who also choose the image to feature.

As for why authors might pay the fee, this is a form of advertising: by having an image of their research in a more visible venue, it might make people read their paper. The page you linked gives some examples. The front page is used in marketing materials, on the journal's webpage, etc., and is likely to be seen by more people as a result.

  • This is quite field-dependent. Mathematic journals have most often no cover image or a fixed one, while cover images corresponding to a particular article see more common in chemistry. Oct 25, 2018 at 13:34

I was told by a Wiley journal that my article image was being considered for the front cover. They 'asked' for a contribution of US$1400 to the publishing cost of this, but when I refused because our funding for that project is now concluded, I didn't hear back from them. So there appears to be no 'unbiased' selection process, rather this appears a quick money-grab from the publishers.

This is pretty shameful behavior, especially as to be 'selected' required time and energy to prepare the image for their requirements. Not impressed.

  • 2
    They made an offer. You refused it. What is the problem? This is just a rant.
    – Buffy
    Oct 25, 2018 at 13:31
  • 1
    @Buffy: asking an author to pay for and produce the cover image is not a plain offer, it is an outrageous one. Oct 25, 2018 at 13:36
  • @BenoîtKloeckner, I guess I don't understand the vilification of publishers over this. They are a business, not a charity. Like any business, they need to make a profit for shareholders and set prices as they see fit. If you don't like the product/service or think it is overpriced, then don't buy it. If you want to rage over something, look at big pharma raising prices on essential drugs by 1000% when often much of the research was publicly funded in the first place.
    – Buffy
    Oct 25, 2018 at 14:21
  • @Buffy: there are worse problem (as always). Publishers are not just a regular business, because their clients are tied up by the prestige game their career and employment depend on; because they own titles of journal and copyright of articles that where produced through public money. Where they mere service providers, I would have no issue with bad practice: they would simply lead to the provider being dumped. That said, this is probably not the place to have this debate, so whether you answer or not I will not add another response. Oct 25, 2018 at 18:00

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