I am a retired scientist looking to publish a viewpoint/review article on radiation and cancer. I do not have an affiliation (university or industry) and cannot afford high article processing fees charged by most journals. I would be grateful for suggestions on any journals that are likely to fit my needs. The journal does not have to be open access.

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    Many journals offer the option to request waiving publication fees. Ask the editor.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 1, 2022 at 16:54
  • Would the department you retired from be willing to pitch in? Feb 1, 2022 at 16:55
  • @Azhor Ahai, no it has been many years since I retired. The department will not be interested.
    – user152936
    Feb 1, 2022 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


Is the answer "choose a journal that doesn't charge article processing charges" too simple?

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    Yes and no! Without an affiliation, I feel my chances are already low. So was hoping for some help sorting through the plethora of journals. Thanks.
    – user152936
    Feb 1, 2022 at 17:10
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    @user152936 You aren't a researcher without an affiliation. You are an independent researcher. A recognised affiliation is not necessary for article submission. If you need something to put in that field, simply devise your own, reflecting your independent status, like "Your Surname Radiation Research", with your contact details. Feb 2, 2022 at 2:04
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    Some readers might misunderstand @Michael MacAskill's comment. He is not actually saying "You aren't a researcher without an affiliation," which would be untrue. He is saying "Don't describe yourself as a researcher without an affiliation. Describe yourself as an independent researcher."
    – toby544
    Feb 2, 2022 at 7:28
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    @toby544 You’re absolutely right, I hadn’t noticed that that sentence could be reasonably interpreted with two entirely opposed meanings! Thanks for clarifying on my behalf. Feb 2, 2022 at 7:31
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    @toby544: In my letter to the editor, I was planning to mention my ex-affiliation and say that I am retired, with a continued interest in the field. I will take your and Michael MacAskill's advice and and additionally describe myself as an 'independent researcher'.
    – user152936
    Feb 2, 2022 at 10:14

I would check the author information for journals you might consider publishing in. Things have changed over the last decade or so, partly because of open access, partly because of the switch to mostly on-line access (cheaper than actually printing and sending issues). As two examples,

Physical Review:

APCs are waived for authors from developing countries that APS offers free online access to

(APC = applicable publication charges, APS = American Physical Society).

Applied Physics Letters:

AIP Publishing does not require page or color charges for Applied Physics Letters.

(AIP = American Institute of Physics).

So, review the author information and see who is doing what these days. Furthermore, you could consider directly asking the editor if they would waive any applicable fees for you, given that you are retired and not supported by a department or grants.

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    thank you. It's been a while since I published, and was wondering what my chances are for a good journal that will look kindly upon an author without an affiliation AND who cannot afford APCs!
    – user152936
    Feb 1, 2022 at 17:12
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    I don't think most journals care whether someone has/doesn't have an affiliation. The quality of the paper matters. Feb 1, 2022 at 18:20
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    @WolfgangBangerth - indeed, the affiliation really doesn't matter, department support ($$$ for reprints) is the bigger stumbling block it would seem.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 1, 2022 at 18:31
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    That's good to hear (affiliation doesn't matter). I have enough expertise to write well. I guess it's a matter of finding a fitting journal then. Thank you.
    – user152936
    Feb 1, 2022 at 19:50

There are also pre-print Servers now like BioRxiv, MedRxiv or even only aRxiv. Given, those are not journals per-se, however, if you just would like to put your paper out this could also be a good place to start. Usually this still allows publishing the paper in a journal later as well, however some journals (especially in the Biological/Medical Sciences) still have policies which do not allow preprints, so keep this in mind if you feel this would be a viable option for you.


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