A journal accepted a manuscript of mine. After acceptance they ask the author whether the author wants "to order Open Choice". Should I do so if I've got the money? What is it? Is it a way to make a peer-reviewed publication while retaining the copyright of your article? What are some pros and cons of it?

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    "Should I" is going to be a matter of opinion and depend on your personal philosophy and maybe the rules of your funding source. As to "what is it", presumably you've read Springer's explanation of the scheme, so maybe you could ask a more specific question? – Nate Eldredge Sep 30 '19 at 23:51
  • I was looking for a more plain and summative account by a peer... – Philosopher of science Oct 1 '19 at 0:04
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    Do you think you will get many citations from your manuscript? If you think it will be useful and will be cited, then it could be more worthwhile than articles that are more descriptive and illustrative probably. Your institutions may also contribute towards the open-access fee as well... – Poidah Oct 1 '19 at 0:45

Springer Open Choice, aka. open access, is the "new" way to publish things. In the traditional model, the journal publishes the paper, and then charges readers a subscription fee to read it. With open access, the paper is freely available, but the authors have to pay the publisher to publish. Copyright in OA articles are generally retained by the author, and there is no print version.

Springer's webpage gives you the advantages of doing it:

  • It makes your paper freely accessible.
  • It increases citation counts & usage statistics. Note this is controversial. There's no doubt that open access increases usage statistics, but citation is a separate story.
  • It complies with funder mandates. If you're unfamiliar with open access I'll guess that your funders (if any) don't have require you to publish open access, so this is irrelevant.
  • You retain the copyright (if it matters to you for whatever reason).

There's really only one downside to open access: you have to pay for it. It's possible you have funding to do it (per point 3 above; also check with your library/supervisor if applicable). Otherwise there's the paperwork you have to do, and finally there's the danger intrinsic to open access. OA motivates the publisher to accept as many papers as possible (they make more money), which generates a conflict of interest. In your case you should be clear because 1) it's a hybrid journal, the offer of OA is only made after your paper is accepted + you don't have to take it up, and 2) it's Springer, which is a well-known publisher. But if you keep publishing OA then you'll inevitably encounter so-called predatory publishers with whom you should be careful.

Whether you should do it is up to you. I'll venture that most people would likely not pay for open access unless they had the funding to do so. If you don't have the money but want to publish open access anyway, you could try asking for a waiver/reduced charges, especially if you are based in a developing country.

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    @Philosopherofscience a journal that is subscription based but also publishes open access articles, i.e. you can do both. A fully subscription journal does not publish open access articles (these journals are getting increasingly rare), while in a fully OA journal every article is OA (and there is no print version). – Allure Oct 1 '19 at 0:13
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    @Philosopherofscience probably not. The conflict of interest mainly affects the journal, not the authors who publish in them. – Allure Oct 1 '19 at 0:25
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    @Philosopherofscience Yeah, digital has been the norm for me my entire academic career, and though I prefer to print out pdfs when I am actually reading a paper thoroughly cover-to-cover, I've only actually reached for a journal's print copy on the rare cases I was after an older article that my university library had in print but not digitally. I'd say in today's world the actual, physical, in-hand printed copy of journals is not that valuable. – Bryan Krause Oct 1 '19 at 0:42
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    @Philosopherofscience I don't understand. If you don't want people to change your work, choose the Creative Commons license that prevents it - CC-BY-NC-ND (creativecommons.org/licenses). – Allure Oct 1 '19 at 0:45
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    @Philosopherofscience well, unless you have more money than you know what to do with, money spent on open access is money that cannot be used elsewhere. It's up to you though, I don't know the details. – Allure Oct 1 '19 at 1:03

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