A PhD student has started his research about two year ago by research scholarship from university. His supervisor won a huge grant on a topic very close to his research project couple of months earlier. He and his supervisor submitted a 6 page paper to a journal for publication. Editor's decision is that the paper should be published as a communication rather original research. This means that they have to reduce the manuscript to 4 pages or pay about 500$ for extra pages. The adviser asked the student to shrink the paper to the shortest possible version.

I have the following questions:

  1. Can they pay the publications fees from the grant budget?
  2. Can student ask the adviser to pay for the publication from the grant? What is the best polite approach for such request?
  3. Should supervisor expect to put the grant number in the acknowledgement while he does not pay for the publication fees.
  • 4
    To answer the title question: Neither. Publish elsewhere.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 4:55
  • 3
    @JeffE Would you make the same suggestion if the journal is a highly reputable one?
    – Nobody
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 5:17
  • 2
    @scaaahu: I just did.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 5:29
  • 7
    If some of the authors are high-rank enough, publishing elsewhere contributes to liberation from the racketeering of ridiculously priced journals and to raise well-behaved (perhaps even open access journals) to highly reputable status.
    – gerrit
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 9:22
  • 3
    @antmw1361: In my experience, publishing excellent work opens funding opportunities, no matter where it's published, and publishing mediocre work does not, no matter where it's published. Your mileage may vary.
    – JeffE
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 3:23

3 Answers 3

  1. You already have the answer from your advisor. He is the one who knows the circumstances and can make the call if he want to.

  2. You can ask, but be careful how you do it. Remember, if he wanted to do it, he would have done it already instead of asking you to cut the paper.

  3. Yes, if its close enough, and he feels that grant has been supporting his activities...

  1. Generally yes (depends on whether the grant is tied to any specific spending though, e.g. staff costs, equipment, etc.) - but if the advisor suggests to cut down the paper, it is probably best to follow that suggestion. An alternative would be to provide the longer version of the paper as an official technical report by the university, which should not clash with publication restrictions of the journal. I have seen a number of publications that have a technical report with the same title. (This is in computer science.)

  2. See above - but this also depends on the relationship with the advisor. If they're generally friendly, suggesting it sounds reasonable ("would this be an option...?").

  3. Yes.


The other answers give proper solutions to the questions the OP asks. Here is a suggestion to avoid the problem altogether.

Publish the full paper on arXiv, or as a technical report from your own university. Then publish an abbreviated version in the journal, and make crossreferences.

Before you do this, carefully doublecheck the journal's policies on arXiv publications.

  • Given this was asked in 2013 it's a very late answer...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 15:36
  • 1
    @SolarMike Assuming the response is useful, what does it matter? Others may profit from it (not sure I agree with it, but that's a different question). Commented Jan 6, 2020 at 21:07

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