Forum:Question regarding journal publications
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19 months ago
K.Gee ▴ 40

Hello Biostars.

When you get deep in science, you realizing that nobody takes care about science as it is turned into a business. To explain my point of view in simple words, if you want to publish, you HAVE TO PAY!!!

In the Accademia, things are even worse. If you want to obtain any level of diploma and improve your cv, you should have publications. ANY IDEA is going to be filtered top-down based on professors interests and the fund availability. I'm just realized how many ideas got vanished because of that.

To get to the point, I am wondering if there are journals that accepts scientific manuscripts without a mandatory payment.

Thanks in advance for the responses.

journals publications Forum • 761 views
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Not a journal but maybe it helps you. https://www.biorxiv.org/

If you want to obtain any level of diploma

Think this is not true, you only need publications when you want to get a Phd.

I'm just realized how many ideas got vanished because of that.

No one wants to read about just ideas. People want to read about tested and proven ideas. And that cost money anyways (lab, supplies, salary etc) and you need a fund for that and that fund is also there to help you publish.

Also don't forget that the papers get peer reviewed, some person need to find reviewers the website need to stay in the air etc. that cost money.

Besides my opinions, I do agree that some costs to publish something are insane.

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Think this is not true, you only need publications when you want to get a Phd.

I have no respect for any PhD program that actually requires publications. While I published relatively well as a grad student I'm very glad my program didn't encourage taking on simple low-risk projects by making absurd publication demands.

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I'd add to this that in the UK, its actually pretty unusual to get papers during the PhD as they're only about 3 years long, particularly in experimental biology. It's a bit more normal in chemistry and physics. It's certainly something academics will push for, as long as it adds to, and not distracts from, successfully completing a thesis - but it is not a requirement to graduate that you have any papers.

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In Mexico, all Bio-related Ph.D. programs I'm aware demands a first author publication or patent to graduate.

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First of all, thanks a lot for the response. By "any idea," I was inferred to the scientistic proof idea. My point was that the concept of publishing is kind of weird. I will give you an example, and I am sure you will get my point. Let's say I found a job opportunity. In the interview day, the interviewer will be going to tell you. "you will salary yourself, it is 12hours working daily, and to get hired, you have to pay me too". In the salary place, I put as you mentioned (lab, supplies, salary, etc.), and the interviewer is the journal. Regarding peer-reviewed people, I do agree that should consider as a cost, but don't forget that journals have subscriptions and advertisements as well.

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Yep - its a very backwards system. Your analogy is not quite right, as the expectation is not that the researcher themselves pay.

It is most certainly a con that we have to pay to publish and pay to access oftentimes.

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I think journals have converted themselves into brands these days, the more well-known a brand is, more you pay for publishing. The ones who don't charge money are typically not so well recognized (read : negligible impact factor). If you are okay with that then they (low impact factor journals) are more desperate than you are for publishing your content with very lenient peer review (in some cases no peer review) process, which is a red flag already.

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agree, it is a nasty business nowadays. But at least many publishers do not charge (or apply a reduced rate) if the authors are from low-income or a lower-middle-income countries. For example, https://www.biomedcentral.com/getpublished/article-processing-charges or https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/authors.

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Thanks for the links @ grant.hovhannisyan. The problem is that this situation not only exists in developing counties but in developed as well. @ grant.hovhannisyan, @genomax I have many examples from France, Greece, and Italy, too, even if there is funding for publishing it not enough from more than 2-3 publications annually.

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Welcome to the broken world of academic publishing.

For the record, there are lots of journals that support open-access science (not that this always means you don't have to pay, just that you don't pay to access).

Typically, you're going to be looking at online journals since they aren't passing printing costs on to you. I can't think of any names right now, but I'm sure others will weigh in.

At the moment, you will probably find that these journals are lower impact factor (not that I'm endorsing chasing impact factor, but its something everyone thinks about). Hopefully this will change over time as the push for open access accelerates. I would also encourage you to look at the arXiv pre-print sites. This is a good (and free) way to disseminate early manuscripts and to get some peer review.

One last thing, I'm not sure what your institution is, but many (at least here in the UK) have a specific budget from the government to fund/subsidise the costs of publishing - it should never be out of the researchers own pocket. Some institutions may however dictate that it comes out of your own grant money.

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Thank you much for the reply and the suggestion. I wish other institutes or Universities consider the costs of publications as the UK. Unfortunately some times due to budget limitations, so Uni/institutes are considering among others ( labs materials, supplies etc) paper costs a lot, and you end up to publish what the director/supervisor finds more attractive and scientific interesting. In bioinformatics, for instance, you don't need to produce data if you want to publish and you can work at any time of the day almost from everywhere. Data are online, so if you have a question to answer; you have the answer much more accessible than testing in the lab. Even in that case, you should that the "permission" from the hierarchy upper person for that. So this is why I wrote this post.

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I have not checked specifically of late but many journals used to have reduced (or perhaps no fees) if you were from a developing country. If you are not then grants certainly have enough money to pay for incidentals.

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19 months ago

Bioinformatics journal is free, but there are restrictions about what qualifies for a free publication with this journal. Most likely it is not suited to general research.

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Thanks a lot for the post @kevin Blighe. It is a fair option I guess

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Are you sure? I don't see anything in Instructions to Authors.

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It's not explicit on there, but you only have to pay if you either (A) go over the page limits or (B) want it to be open access. Those are the only costs listed at least and my understanding has always been that those are then the only possible fees (we always always paid for articles to be open access since we're required to, so I've never personally tested this).

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I had to read all, but @kevin in right, only Open Access papers have a declared fee, if you don't exceed the number of pages it should be no-cost. Did anyone try this before?

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No costs, if the paper is behind the paywall.

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19 months ago
JC 12k

Doing research in a developing country is worse, I (and the other authors) had before to support article publication fees out of our pocket because the grant was suspended when the paper was accepted, also the student needs to publish ASAP to be able to graduate.

You can also try to find journals that are cheaper than others, for example a short article in F1000research costs $150 usd. ADD COMMENT 0 Entering edit mode I strongly agree with you. Even if I'm not studying in a developed country, I am aware of the situation. I get your point of the new journals. So I guess it is a good option. ADD REPLY 2 Entering edit mode 19 months ago h.mon 33k Although I find the tone of your post a bit too "ranty", you address some important points. My first feeling is Academia StackExchange would be a better fit for your question, as it is a more philosophical question that affects all fields of science, not only bioinformatics. Your post addresses several issues about modern science: 1. how to fund research (in general, and more specifically, research publication) 2. how to evaluate research 3. how to evaluate researchers competence I will address only 1), and briefly and in a over-simplifying way at that. As the saying goes, there is no free lunch, and publication process has to be paid somehow. There are two competing models right now (with possibly a third in the making): 1. publication is (mostly) free, access to papers is paid - this is the big publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, and so on) model; 2. publication is paid, access is free - PLoS model; and 3. publication and access are free, with a simplified publishing process - arXiv / bioRxiv models. As science is somewhat conservative, preferred models are 1) and 2), as 3) is not peer-reviewed, nor has an impact factor, etc - probably the fact it hasn't been monetized also counts. To get to the point, I am wondering if there are journals that accepts scientific manuscripts without a mandatory payment. Yes, several, those following the monetary model 1) above. You will often have to read a lot of "instructions to authors" and related pages to discover if and how much are the costs to publishing at a particular journal. Or you may go the bioRxiv (also tweet / post about your pre-prints), if you are lucky, it will pick up peoples interests and several (mostly young) researchers will consider this as a good publication. ADD COMMENT 0 Entering edit mode Thanks for the explanation. It was an excellent point to understand how publications procedure work. I wrote this post to learn If there is a way to publish for free, so the introduction was a kind of "something that would like to get off my chest " and maybe it was too much for such a simple question :D . It is really annoying when an idea should take "permission" to get spread. I am talking not only for myself but I realized that it is a general phenomenon so it can explain my "anger tone" in this post. ADD REPLY 2 Entering edit mode 19 months ago Mensur Dlakic ★ 14k It may not help for publishing papers unrelated to biological sciences, but here is an example of a very reputable journal that requires no payment unless one decides to go with open access: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-molecular-biology As to the rest of your post, I feel like you are generalizing a bit too much without properly considering the opposite point of view. Without getting into the weeds on all the topics you brought up, I will offer a perspective of a researcher and an educator: I do not think one should be awarded a PhD (or equivalent) without having their name on at least one scientific publication. There are exceptions to this in fields where one can produce an original body of work without actually having a published paper. While you may feel that it puts an undue pressure on students, I consider that to be a matter of scientific rigor. Anyone can get a MS degree without a paper because to me this degree implies only a level of knowledge. In my view, a PhD student must demonstrate both knowledge and make an original contribution to science. While I am very fond of UK (Scotland in particular), I do not think it is rigorous enough to give PhD after 3 years. But hey, it seems to work for them, and who am I to question the wisdom of a whole education system. PS It is not a rule across all disciplines, but many research projects cost in hundreds of thousands to execute. Not saying that is right, but people and materials are needed to perform research. Adding$2K-5K to that to publish a paper is not that crazy from my point of view, especially because journals have their own overheads when it comes to paying editors and print costs. Again, not saying that all journals are charging proper fees, but I don't see how they can be expected to do it for free.

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I think you're underestimating the role of the thesis in the UK PhD process. Every UK PhD absolutely is judged on their making of a contribution to science, but to suggest papers are the only way to do that isn't accurate in my view.

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19 months ago

When you get deep in science, you realizing that nobody takes care about science as it is turned into a business. To explain my point of view in simple words, if you want to publish, you HAVE TO PAY!!!

That's not surprisingly, because your publisher is a company. They have to get some money to pay their people, set up their websites, etc. I'm not saying that the amount of money is justified, but having to pay is perfectly normal.

Also, it might be different if you are just doing bioinformatics, but for a normal "research project" with technicians, cells, reagents, labs, sequencing costs, compute hardware and all of these will always be LOTS more expensive than the publication fees.

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it might be different if you are just doing bioinformatics, but for a normal "research project" with technicians, cells, reagents, labs, sequencing costs, compute hardware and all of these will always be LOTS more expensive than the publication fees.

Indeed. I was involved in molecular biology labs and Iam aware of the situation. But I believe that this extra cost of publications it shouldn't be exist and especially with the words limitation.

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Perhaps if there was some standardisation across journals regarding formatting, length, figures, costing, etc., then that would reduce the level of frustration. At the moment, I see it as unjust the amount of time (salaried time, often funded by charitable bodies) that can be wasted on reformatting a manuscript after it is rejected from a journal.

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I totally agree, the amount of time that's wasted needlessly reformatting things for glamour mag submissions is truly absurd (granted, one could convincingly argue that maybe we should just avoid glamour mags...).

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There are journals that allow a format-free first submission, and I think that's the way forward. Only formatting to journal-style after the first round of review.

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But I believe that this extra cost of publications it shouldn't be exist

But then who is going to pay for the copy editors, the web sites, the paywalls, the offices of the publishers? It's of course very attractive to say it should be free, but perhaps you have to think this through a bit longer.

For what it's worth, I'd prefer not to have to worry about publications and impact factors, although I'm personally doing fairly well in this aspect. But the peer-review system we have at the moment might be the least bad solution.

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But then who is going to pay for the copy editors, the web sites, the paywalls, the offices of the publishers?

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So you now move the burden of the costs to those who want to read science, rather than write. Of course that's already the case, partially. You are encouraging scientists not to read other papers because they will have to pay more. I'm not sure if that's a smart idea. I think paying to get access to publicly funded research is a far greater evil than having to pay to put your work online.

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You are encouraging scientists not to read other papers because they will have to pay more. I'm not sure if that's a smart idea.

Did in any of my posts mentioned on that? I never said to anybody what to do. I made a simple question I am wondering if there are journals that accept scientific manuscripts without a mandatory payment and I gave two examples when a publication procedure meets such difficulties when you have a limited budget. Nothing more, nothing less...

I don't know if you misunderstand my question or if you trying to change my initial post orientation on purpose.

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19 months ago

Just for instigating purposes, I will leave it here :) For ref, SESBE2020 meeting

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I think this is pretty key.

The problem with academic publishing is not that they often charge ludicrous fees per se, but that for the pleasure of being billed, you still have to do essentially ALL of the effing work.

I'll happily pay a few grand if it means I don't have to deal with the formatting - and vice versa, if its free, I'll expect to do the lion's share of the work.

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Plus their service (and this is exactly what they do in fact - offer a service) must be quick and efficient, which is rarely the case.

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19 months ago
K.Gee ▴ 40

Maybe I didn't address my question thoroughly, and I was overanalyzing what I have in mind. The problem coming when there is a limited budget available, the publication is a matter of a top-down decision. Sometimes the "tip-top" person decides to spend all the funds in one particle and go for "a top journal" instead of selecting "cheaper" solutions and published more often. For me, sharing knowledge is more important between the scientific community is the key to improve this world. The last thing that I am looking for is the impact factors and the journal brand names. So what does someone should do if have the "appetite" to spread knowledge and results and, in fact, have no funds?... Nothing, I guess.

To answer to those that disagree with me. Payment = privilege. And in my point science shouldn't be a privilege. Regular newspapers and magazines are hiring employees for writing. I can understand that the regulars journals are not the same with scientific one as the scientific community is much smaller, resulting in fewer sales and advertisements, sponsors, etc., and of course, I am not demanding to hired scientists for writing articles. Still, again I think that science was turned nothing more than to a good business nowadays.

But generally, even if most of the responses disagree with my point of view, I like how the whole discussion going on.

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Payment = privilege

Not necessarily. There is peer review (which has its own issues). If your paper passes peer review then it is going to be published otherwise you are going to get a rejection letter. It won't be published because you are willing to pay.

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have no funds?

Although I still understand why you started this tread. You need funds anyways to do research, not sure if you realize that part. Or you have a already paid of sequencer and lab in your garage.

And stuff like review papers or tool comparisons you could even upload to github and share it here for example. So maybe it helps if you define what kind of research or paper you mean.

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Although I still understand why you started this tread. You need funds anyways to do research, not sure if you realize that part. Or you have a already paid of sequencer and lab in your garage.

Again, again and again, I'm just saying that in some fields such as bioinformatics data are online. You don't need to produce then, or having a sequencer in your garage. Even if, in this case, you have to pay a journal, and this is why I made this question.

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It is noble to pursue science dissemination and not impact factor.

If that is your only goal, there are many journals with a entirely free publication practices, even if it means the cost is passed to the end user for access.

If your only barrier to publishing is convincing a 'higher up' to loosen the purse strings, you have plenty of options.