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Under "Information for Authors" at the American Mathematical Monthly, there is this statement for color charges in publishing:

Color art will be reproduced in color in the online publication at no additional cost to the author. Color illustrations will also be considered for print publication; however, the author will be required to bear the full cost involved in color art reproduction. Please note that color reprints can only be ordered if print reproduction costs are paid. Print Rates: $900 for the first page of color; $450 per page for the next three pages of color. A custom quote will be provided for articles with more than four pages of color. Art not supplied at a minimum of 300 dpi will not be considered for print. Please ensure that color figures and images submitted for publication will render clearly in a black and white conversion for print.

What does this mean? Am I understanding correctly that if they decide to publish your article, then they will charge you, the author for color figures in the article?

I also don't understand the distinction between online and print - does the author have a choice which to submit to? I don't see this information on their website.

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    Just tell the editor and/or journal manager that you chose the "color online only" option. It's extremely rare that anyone actually reads the printed journal and paying for color in print is optional. – Roland Mar 12 at 13:03
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    Yes, they are charging you, the author to publish with color figures. Yes, it makes sense to them. – E.P. Mar 13 at 13:25
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By default, color figures will appear in color online and black and white in print. If you want them to be in color in print, you need to pay the rates they indicate. All their papers appear both in print and online, it is not that you choose one or the other. They also advice on the required quality (resolution) of the figures (regardless of color) and ask that if you use the default option the colir figures are understandable and meaningful when rendered in black and white.

Other journals have an option for slightly different figures for color and black and white, which may make things easier sometimes (for instance, in black and white you use different kinds of shading as different "colors"). It doesn't hurt to ask if this is also an option here.

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    As an additional point, making your color figures legible in black and white is an excellent decision for several reasons: to ensure that people with colorblindness can read your figures, to help the person who prints them out in B&W to read, and to provide additional visual channels to help things understanding even if it the color is accessible. I always try to used different line styles (dashed, dotted) or shapes (circles, triangles) in addition to color. – zeldredge Mar 12 at 16:00
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    Further discussion on colour/B&W figures: Are there good reasons to avoid using color in research papers? and Using color in figures for economics journals, where I say colour should be "helpful but redundant". Journals I've submitted to won't accept 2 versions of the figure, leading to "solid black lines... dashed red lines" (@zeldredge) – Chris H Mar 12 at 16:13
  • I agree with the two comments above. In some of my papers where I find myself using figures, I use colors but make sure that there is some redundancy so the figures are understandable in black and white. I think this is very much needed. For instance, there is a nice book on combinatorial game theory with many figures in color that, if printed in black and white, become impossible to understand. Once I photocopied a few pages, and had to spend some time manually decorating all the figures so they would still be useful. This is something you want to avoid putting your readers through. – Andrés E. Caicedo Mar 12 at 17:11
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Color in an online publication costs nothing for them to reproduce so it is free. In a print journal, it requires a different than normal process, so the author (or preferably her/his grant) will need to bear the cost. The color pages are printed separately from the rest of the article and then assembled.

If you provide color illustrations then they can be "flattened" to greyscale and printed in the normal way so there doesn't need to be a charge for that, but not all color figures flatten properly. When they say "black and white" they probably mean greyscale, but maybe not.

The article will probably appear both in print and online. If you provide color figures, but don't want to pay the fees, then the color will be preserved online, but flattened for print.

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