I am writing a paper that I want to submit to a journal in Education. By looking at the formatting requirements I discovered that most of the journals in this area set require to format submissions by following the APA manual standards. Some state:
Prepare manuscripts according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). More information is available at www.apastyle.org/. Any manuscript not in this style will automatically be returned to the author. [*]
Now, the required document is for sale only in printed copies at prices ranging from \$29.95 (Softcover) to \$39.95 (Hardcover). Then one has to add shipping fees, I presume.
It is very easy to find scanned copies of this manual on the internet and these show how vague and superficial the instructions about figures, tables, and other technical details are (I think because it is primarily for social scientists). I can think of better free web sites for that, so I wouldn't use it other than to format papers for a journal requiring that style.
Frankly, I think it is unethical to ask an author to buy a document just to know the formats required to submit a paper (or they should refund the money if the paper is not accepted). If I were paranoid (or realistic?) I would suspect that publishers who request to consult the commercial manual get a cut from the APA?
I know most of people will answer: "publish somewhere else or use the illegal copy -which you already downloaded-" but that means not being able to publish in the top rated journals or being forced to break the law because of a simple formatting problem.
Can anybody suggest a way around this money wringing?
ps. I should also add that most of these journals accept only Microsoft Word documents which is also a commercial product (which I find a most improper application for academic writing.)