In academic life you need to publish papers. Some journals publish papers merely based on peer review; they don't ask for money. For some other journals, you have to pay certain amount of money for your paper to be reviewed and published.

What are this second kind of journals called? I have heard "money journals". Is that the name used for these journals?


This model is typically called "Gold open access".

Some of them are good and well-reputed (e.g., the PLOS family of journals), and some are predatory scams designed to bilk authors out of publications fees.

In most fields, journals will never ask for money to allow peer review: in those fields, that is definitely a red flag for a scam. Note, however, that in a few fields, such as economics, it is standard practice to ask for submission fees.

  • Do you know what percent, if any, of those ones that are predatory scams are indexed in such databases as Web of Science or Scopus? – Sasan Feb 12 at 21:12
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    Submission fees, typically fairly modest ones, are common in my field including for very reputable journals (in the ~$50-$100 range; often deferred for scientists from certain countries or members of an associated professional society), and page charges are also not unusual for publication even for non-open access journals. – Bryan Krause Feb 12 at 21:17
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    @BryanKrause Fascinating: given that it's cheaper than membership, it looks like it's essentially a mechanism to push people into joining the society. Do you know of any legitimate journals that request publication fees and aren't "society pushing"? – jakebeal Feb 12 at 22:33
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    I’m told that for many legitimate and prestigious economics journals reviewers are paid and there is a corresponding submission fee. I personally think submission fees (in lieu of other fees) are a good idea and should be more widely implemented. – Thomas supports Monica Feb 13 at 3:16
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    This could be field-dependent. My impression in economics is that reputable non-open-access journals that charge submission fees are quite common. In fact, three of the conventional 'top five' journals in economics require submission fees (for example, aeaweb.org/journals/aer/submissions/guidelines). – jnanin Feb 14 at 9:22

Actually, many journals, even quite reputable ones ask for money, but the good ones expect that the authors are funded by grants that will cover publication costs. On the other hand there are "predatory" journals that seem to exist only to publish relatively low quality papers and make money in the process. They are like "vanity publishers" of novels and such, but do provide an audience of sorts, including web publishing, for example. Beall's List is now somewhat out of date, I think, but you can find many predatory journals here. Most of those are best avoided as people finding your papers there will, at least, wonder why you couldn't have done better.

I don't know current practice, but even the AMS used to charge (page charges) for paper they publish in some journals. It means that the cost of publishing isn't entirely borne by members of the society. The bill would normally be sent to the author's grant. If there is no grant then it would be sent to the author's institution. If it was refused there, it would be sent to the author. But if the author wasn't able to pay the fee, then (in the past at least) the paper would still be published. It wasn't a condition of publishing, but a request.

If you are writing grants, include something for publishing fees unless it isn't permitted or isn't needed.

But note that there are costs associated with publishing, even if it is mostly done by volunteers and publishing is online. Someone need to pay for the web site and the space to host the papers. These costs need to be paid somehow.

  • Do you have any idea what percent, if any, of those ones that are predatory are indexed in such databases as Web of Science or Scopus? – Sasan Feb 12 at 21:15
  • Sorry, no clue about that. – Buffy Feb 12 at 21:19
  • @user157323 The best way to identify non-predatory journals is that they will be the places that people you respect publish work you respect cited by people you respect (and not just a single publication, but a trend of publishing in your field). – Bryan Krause Feb 12 at 21:20
  • @user157323, true enough but easier for an old hand than a young researcher with less experience. – Buffy Feb 12 at 21:50

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