I have submitted a paper to a Springer conference and it has been published. The publisher will charge 24.95$ to anyone who would eventually download my paper and 201 copies of my research sold by Springer official site.

How much percentage royalty do I get from Springer (as the paper's author) and how I can apply for royalty payment?

  • 39
    I would be extremely impressed if they actually sold 201 copies of a paper for $24.95 each, it would imply your paper is truly groundbreaking.
    – Allure
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 7:04
  • 21
    Also, if you want royalties, you need to negotiate before your paper is published.
    – Allure
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 7:11
  • 32
    The others have already mentioned that you get nothing. Also I think the site shows the number of downloads, and not necessarily the number of people who purchased the chapter.
    – Ehsan
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 8:48
  • 8
    Sold or accessed? Oftentimes those who read a paper are part of a university that has paid access to entire journals through a subscription. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 11:43
  • 35
    The fact that Springer profits from your work and you don't is yet another excellent reason to avoid commercial publishers altogether. I prefer to work with academic publishers and publications of professional societies; at least if they make money, it goes back into the discipline. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 17:17

3 Answers 3


You get nothing: Welcome to academic publishing.

  • 8
    The OP won't get money. But, they get fame which is not nothing.
    – Nobody
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 7:32
  • 22
    @scaaahu Indeed. But, the question asks about royalties.
    – user2768
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 7:32
  • 11
    Isn't academic publishing great?! /s
    – JS Lavertu
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 15:28
  • 22
    @scaaahu I like your comment, and it reminds me of a quote from "The Sound of Music"... where a promoter is discussing their plans to make a singing group famous ... "They get fame, you get money." "It's unfair, I admit it. But someday that'll be changed. I shall get the fame too."
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 16:57
  • 13
    @scaaahu Exposure is something you die of
    – Stuck
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 0:35

You get absolutely nothing.

When you submitted the paper to the conference, you (very much likely) transferred the copyright of your paper to the publisher retaining just a couple of rights, but not that of being paid by the publisher.

  • 23
    Depending on where you are, you can get some money. Just not from the publisher. In Germany you can register with VG WORT to receive some money that is collected from libraries as well as printer/copy machine sales in exchange for it being legal to copy arbitrary copyrighted works.
    – Maeher
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 9:49
  • 10
    As a point of reference, for a single ~30 page paper VG WORT paid about 240€ for the year 2019. This gets divided by the number of authors, whether they actually receive anything from VG WORT or not.
    – Maeher
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 10:06
  • 1
    @Maeher It's nice to receive at least some money but compared to the publisher's profit margin it's laughable. Also, VG WORT only pays for journals that are still published in print. These are becoming rare.
    – user9482
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:54
  • 2
    @AndreasH. Theoretically, yes. However the publisher would need to include those counters and at least Springer does not. (Since VG WORT was sued a few years back for giving part of the money to publishers instead of authors, they pretty much have nothing to gain from doing so either.)
    – Maeher
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 14:47
  • 4
    @Maeher The profit margins are more in the 35% range: see theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/… There is staff to pay, and investment needed to keep the technology going. Springer doesn't invest much in the back-end and their author experience is not great. At least Elsevier does invest in technology and their journals are run much more efficiently. 35% is still quite a good (almost predatory) margin... Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 16:56

Here's how academic publishing works.

  • You write the paper. Your peers review it for free. The journal charges people to read the paper to cover copy-editing/hosting costs, and to make a profit.
  • You write a paper. Your peers review it for free. The journal charges you to cover copy-editing/hosting costs, and to make a profit, then gives it away for free.

Unfortunately you're not allowed to save money by doing the copy-editing yourself, nor are you allowed to use your institution's infrastructure for hosting. You can't submit to a university-run committee to organise the peer review.

To be taken seriously you have to publish in the well-known and established journals of your field. To publish in those journals you (or the tax-payer or funder) have to contribute to the publisher's profits.

To answer your question more directly, they won't be giving any of those profits to you.

Edit: forgot to say, for anyone who can't afford to pay for scientific articles (or who wants to make a point), you can access the majority via Sci-Hub.

  • 10
    There are a few truly open access journals where neither you, your institution, libraries, or the readers pay for accessing journals, but they are sadly not common enough. Everyone should do all they can to support them though! Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 9:23
  • 4
    @gerrit from external funding (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access#Diamond/platinum_OA). There's no such thing as a free lunch.
    – Allure
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 10:23
  • 2
    "Business Model", arXiv, currently shows their 2020 financials. They claim 1,960,442 USD in both revenue and direct-expenses (which balance out to zero). Apparently the costs exclude support contributed by Cornell (which they cite at 723,670 USD) and the value of volunteers' time (which they don't price).
    – Nat
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 11:04
  • 16
    "by doing the copy-editing yourself" - this may be field dependent, but in some fields, the author indeed does most of the copy-editing (which does not prevent publishers from charging the described costs all the same). Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:20
  • 3
    @TheV Some would even say that publishing in most academic journals (those that profit from free work of others) is immoral and unethical ;-)
    – JohnEye
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 21:16

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