Publishers that Charge Both Authors and Readers

In an earlier blog post, I wrote,


Since I wrote that, I have learned about other publishers that both charge authors to publish an article and readers (or libraries) to read it. These publishers are chiefly learned societies. [This is similar to, but not the same as, hybrid journals that are really subscription journals that have some open-access content.]

Here are some examples of publishers that charge both to submit a paper and to access it:

1. SPIE (Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers). This publisher’s instructions for authors page says,

Publication charges of $90 per published page apply to both contributed and special section papers. Editorial acceptance of papers is not tied to payment of publication charges, but such payments are expected. These charges are financial contributions from authors’ institutions to help defray the cost of publishing research results and should be regarded as an essential and proper part of their research budgets.

2. ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). Their instructions for authors page says,

Papers selected for publication in an ASME Journal are subject to a voluntary page charge of $75 per printed journal page. This charge is determined by the number of printed pages as shown in the author’s proof. The total amount will be invoiced, through the author, to the author’s company, institution, or agency. One hundred (100) free reprints are provided when the paper has been published in a journal and the voluntary page charges have been paid. Publication is not dependent upon payment of the voluntary page charge.

3. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. This journal’s charge schedule is complicated and almost requires a degree in astrophysics to understand:

Author fees for the Astrophysical Journal Letters

Author fees for the Astrophysical Journal Letters

4. Applied Physics Letters. This journal’s publication charges page says,

To support the cost of wide dissemination of research results through publication of journal pages and production of a database of articles, the author’s institution is requested to pay a page charge of $115 per page (with a one-page minimum) and an article charge of $20 per article. For Errata the minimum page charge is $115, with no article charge.


So, this double charging is not as uncommon as I had thought. The journals listed above are not open-access journals. They are toll-access journals that also charge their authors to publish in them. I still think it’s unethical for a non-learned society, for-profit publisher [deleted] to charge both author and subscriptions fees for the same content.

A couple of the above journals/publishers do offer a more expensive hybrid option, as does Reed Elsevier. For this option, authors pay a higher fee, and their article is free for all internet users to access.

Hat tip: Denise Pan

10 Responses to Publishers that Charge Both Authors and Readers

  1. Shawn says:

    This is not an uncommon practice by academic societies at all, but they often offer discounted or free publication for their members. I suppose it is a way to bolster their row.

    I have no problem with the author-pay model or even this double dipping. For most academics, the first thing that matters is the quality (reputation) of the journal. It is a cost associated with publishing, and a even greater cost associated with not publishing.

    For libraries and researchers that is trying to find information, It is becoming increasingly difficult to sort out the junk. Who wants to read through hundreds of articles or journals to find something? There is a point where there is just too much information and search results.

    The flood of low quality junk disguised as academic research will be a huge problem for information services. There is just no way to sort this out right now.

    • Thanks — helpful comment. I did not mean to say this model was bad in any way. I thought that such arrangements did not exist, and I thought it would be helpful to bring this model into the discusion.

      • dr.rao says:

        Hi Dr. Beall
        I have recommended your blog to my research colleagues and all of them are finding your blog very useful and it truly exposes the ” BUSINESS” of research publications.
        However, very recently some of my colleagues are asking me many questions like what is the criteria for selecting journal or a publisher in the list of predatory journals or publishers and why your list does not covers non-open access publishers or journals.
        We have research group in our institution and every fortnight they “exhibit” many journals published by reputed publishers and they are fit to be designated as PREDATORY journals.Their objections is even many journals which are not open access are FIT ENOUGH to be labelled as predatory journals and their common objection is you are unfairly targeting open access publishers.
        Hope you will find time and clarify my doubts.
        Waiting for response

      • Dr. Rao: You will find the criteria I use listed here:

  2. moom says:

    Page charges together with subscription fees is common in some fields. I’m surprised you didn’t know about it.

  3. Gerry says:

    It derives from the old paper-only world and was not only an additional source of income for journals, but encouraged author concision. Even more importantly it comes from a time when publication for one’s peers was the imperative not publication for notional public access.

  4. Thomas Munro says:

    Double charging is the rule, not the exception. A 2005 study funded by TA publishers found that most OA journals did not charge author fees, while 75% of TA journals did. The survey covered ~9,000 journals.

    See pp. 26,44.

  5. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) owns and manages both the Astrophysical and Astronomical Journal (ApJ and AJ respectively). Fees are charged to both the authors and readers/subscribers to help cover the costs of peer review administration and scientific editorial staff, as well as supporting ongoing archiving and data and authorship management efforts (metadata, object linking, ORCID, etc.). They recently switched to the “digital quanta” system that you found confusing since not all papers are created equal, and charging “per page” is more or less meaningless in a digital world where pages are virtual. Fees have also *dropped* this year by almost 13% this year, now at the lowest level after inflation in decades, and individual subscription rates for AAS members is $50 and about to get ~50% cheaper next year.

    After 12 months, all articles go free for everyone everywhere. The 12 month exclusivity period is to provide a value/bonus to the subscribers. The AAS just (informally) announced free subscriptions to all US public libraries for journal content as well. The same follows for journals with the American Institute of Physics (AIP), though I’m not as familiar with those myself.

  6. I haven’t seen the journals under discussion, but would like to see all publishers giving clear explanations of their fee charging system in a manner similar to Ryan’s explanation here. Authors should also be able to see in advance how payments are to be made, and who to, or what to, before a paper has been submitted.

  7. Sanjay says:

    Pushpa Pubishing House charges both from authors as well as from readers.

    his name should also be added in greedy publisher list….is’t it?

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