Situation - I produced a MSc thesis in applied data science (I mean, using data science but applied on a certain domain X), which was A-graded. An expert in the field X said it is excellent and worthy a publication, possibly on top-tier journals in field X. The research field of my supervisor is not in X, and he declined to start the peer review process. But my university would not start or fund the peer review process if a senior researcher declines to do it.

I am looking at options to fund a peer review application, which would be the strongest letter of reference I could get for PhD.

Some more context about the communication I had

I asked the primary author I based my work on, to review it and if positive to co-author in quality of reviewer. His comment is my work is worthy for publishing a manuscript, and indicated top tiers journals in the field X. I asked for his permission to forward comments to my supervisor, which I did.

I highlighted that I will not ask for further contribution and be autonomous in writing the manuscript, but made enough clear that, as per instructions of the university, it is up to the supervisor chose to start the peer review process.

I highlighted that a peer reviewed publication would be the best endorsement I could get toward PhD applications, and potential cooperation benefits between the universities, since the potential reviewer is from a top US university anyway and the areas are, even if loosely, connected.

Supervisor declined the proposal. Under the line, he made clear he does not want to be contacted anymore.

Let's leave aside of the antagonising role of a supervisor, which I really fail to understand. My questions are practical:

  • which options do I have to find funding to cover the application fees and publication costs, in case of acceptance ?
  • the work was done on behalf of my university, but I may not have credentials anymore. how to represent my work fairly (e.g. which email should I use)?

edited to address comments

I m not familiar with peer review fees, but my understanding us that you need to pay the publication if the manuscript is accepted.

i quote:

However, authors submitting to [JOURNAL] from 20th October 2014 are required to publish their work open access, through payment of an article processing charge (APC), in the case of eventual acceptance. Please see the open access page for APC pricing and details of our free funding support service.

and :

Authors who publish in [JOURNAL] are required to pay an article processing charge (APC). The APC price will be determined from the date on which the article is accepted for publication. The current APC, subject to VAT or local taxes where applicable, is: £4790.00/$6490.00/€5390.00

of course i cannot pay myself, and i think it should fair the cost is borne by the university, since it was done in that venue.

as per "co author in quality of reviewer" i mean a person experts in the field who doubled check my methodology and findings

  • 2
    What do you mean by “ co-author in quality of reviewer”?
    – user126108
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 11:44
  • 4
    The terminology you are using is a bit strange, the peer review process does not have application fees, some Journals have publication fees, but those are different. And you do not fund or start peer review, you submit your paper to a journal or conference, and those have a peer review process, so please clarify or correct.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 11:51
  • 2
    @user305883 Look for a journal that doesn’t have APC - for example, look at the journals of the articles you are citing in your manuscript and check on their submission guidelines if they have such fees or not. But also, make sure that your supervisor agrees with you publishing the work without them as an author.
    – user126108
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 13:27
  • 3
    Even among publication costs, those costs are enormously high, and the journal you're planning to submit to, though it carries an impressive sounding name, is not actually that impressive, like the difference between winning an Oscar, the most famous award for films in the US, versus having Oscar, a guy that lives on your street, say he liked your paper.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 14:25
  • 1
    ehm .. i did not understand the joke but i sense it is funny :P thanks Bryan, i m not fond of how the industry work. to me, it is one of biggest contradictions: one has to pay to publish its own research. journals make among the most profitable margins across any industry, and researchers are among the poorest salaries. however, i see that many do take into account the impact factor of journals. i m not pushing for any in particular, but i was left without any guidance in how peer review process or advices of journals matching my interest to endorse a PhD application. thanks for sharing yours!
    – user305883
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


On the funding side, you could always choose a journal that doesn't charge fees to authors. Often, the most highly-regarded journals don't (unless you want gold open access).

But there's potentially a more fundamental problem: if your supervisor has had significant creative input to the work, academic ethics requires you to include them as a co-author; and if they're included as a co-author, you can't submit for publication without their consent.

  • well i have not thought about this. do you mean that can happen a supervisor can block the process? cannot be so simple to say do not put my name ? i think that could suffix. but still to publish something it seems to be you need cash. and if you don t have it or are not endorsed, those journal are no option.
    – user305883
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 12:50
  • they still apply publication costs, from my understanding: see edited text
    – user305883
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 13:10
  • 1
    Right: so when I say "choose a journal that doesn't charge fees to authors", that implies "don't choose Nature Communications", which appears to be where both the policy statements you quote originate. Even within the Springer Nature family, there are plenty of journals that don't charge. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 14:52
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    Anyone who's made a significant creative contribution to the work can block the process. Without knowing more details of your project, I don't know whether that includes your supervisor or not. If it does - well, maybe you can find a way to separate out their creative contributions from yours and write and publish a paper that contains only yours; otherwise, it's game over. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 14:55
  • 1
    luckily i don t think it is an issue this time. eventually, i believe my supervisor just do not have time abd must justify budget for other works, he won t bother if i publish or not but also is not used to say many words, bit cryptic. all work was done in autonomy. the contribution were comments to improve readability and structure of text, general polishing. so i don t think it qualify as creative contribution, rather as reviewing, correct? for a mabuscript, the text must be restructructured anyway.
    – user305883
    Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 21:34

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