I was preparing to submit a manuscript to a journal when I made a fatal realization: the journal publishes everything as open access and the author(s)/institution/funding agency must cover the cost ($500). This was a solo side project that I undertook on my own time with no co-authors nor outside funding. I was not expecting to publish this as open access as I was unaware of this policy. In fact, when I initially targeted this journal I thought that some articles were open access and others were not. Upon further inspection this is not the case. I'm clearly at fault for not being diligent enough about the journal's policies.
Now this situation would not be such a big deal except that
- I'm a third year doctoral student and will be on the job market soon (I need pubs ASAP!);
- I was planning on submitting this article and subsequently switching my focus to the dissertation;
- It would take a significant re-work to tailor this paper to another journal as it is somewhat niche: the journal focuses on software publications across a range of disciplines, requires a fairly specific format, and limits articles to 3,000 words or fewer (note: I am not in a traditional STEM field, so I feel that my options for target journals are quite limited).
Am I crazy for wanting to just submit the paper and pay the open access fee out of pocket? $500 does not seem exorbitant compared to other journals' fees. Unrelated to my current situation, a few weeks ago I spoke with my advisor about creative ways to fund open access, but he stated that our university does not have options for funding - this must come through grants. It doesn't seem right asking him to cover the fees as he was not involved in the project and is not a co-author.
In this question, @ff524 suggests seeking funding through PLOS or a fee waiver through the journal/publisher. Other questions on Academia SE result in answers suggesting that authors request funds through the university, library, etc. When is it appropriate to ask for a waiver and/or seek funding from an outside source? Prior to submission, during submission, or after a paper is accepted? It seems like a massive waste of time to seek funding from multiple sources only to have a paper be rejected outright. At the same time, it would seem like withholding relevant information to wait until after a paper is accepted to ask for a fee waiver.