Being paid to publish in journals- an incentive?

[Right up front I will remind you of any potential conflicts of interest as I am on the editorial board of Pharmaceutical Research (Springer), Drug Discovery Today (Elsevier), Mutation Research Reviews (Elsevier), Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods (Elsevier) and Chem-Bio Informatics (Chem-Bio Informatics Society).]

Barely a day goes by without having to cleanse my email of requests for submissions to new science journals.

Today it was:

International Journal of Computational & Neural Engineering (IJCNE) – Open Access

Journal of Theoretical & Computational Chemistry: Open Access. (twice)

But also there was a new approach apparently Open Journals now pay you for submitting an article!:

Dear Dr. Ekins,

I am writing to inquire whether you have received my previous email inviting you to write a Spotlight Article in Advances in Pharmaceutics. Spotlight Articles provide both a comprehensive overview of past research on a topic, as well as an analysis of the issues that are likely to drive future research in the field.

If you would be interested in writing a Spotlight Article, or if you have any questions, please let me know.

Best regards,
Xxxxxx Xxxx

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Invitation to submit a commissioned Spotlight Article for Advances in Pharmaceutics
Date: Mon, 29 July 2013
From: Xxxxxx Xxxx
To : Me

Dear Dr. Ekins,

My name is Xxxxxx Xxxx and I am an Editorial Developer for Hindawi Publishing Corporation. I am writing to you because we are in the process of commissioning a number of Spotlight Articles to be published by the end of 2013 in Advances in Pharmaceutics, and I would like to know whether you would potentially be interested in writing one of these Spotlight Articles.

Spotlight Articles are comprehensive review articles that may only be submitted by invitation. These articles are meant to provide both a review of the past work on a topic of high current interest as well as a forward looking analysis of the issues that will drive future research in the field. In order to ensure a thorough review of past work in the field, these articles should include a minimum of 100 to 300 references to recent articles within their area of research. The minimum length of the article should be around 10,000 words with no maximum word limit.

One important feature of Spotlight Articles is that they must be single author manuscripts, and we only solicit a handful of these articles per year from leading researchers in each field. In recognition of the effort that is required in order to put such an article together, we provide an honorarium of $1,000 upon the completion of a Spotlight Article. In addition, the article will be published on an Open Access basis, meaning that it will be made freely available to all interested readers and the author of an article will retain the copyright of their work.

Once you are done with preparing your article, you will need to send it to me by email and I will forward it to our staff who will handle its review process.

If you would like to learn more about Advances in Pharmaceutics, you may visit the journal’s website at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ap/. If you have any questions either about the journal or about our Spotlight Articles please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,
Xxxxxx Xxxx

Xxxxxx Xxxx
Editorial Developer
Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Now I have to admit it is flattering and the offer of being paid to write an article does not happen often, although my guess is writing a review with 300 references and 10,000 words would cost me many weeks of time I just do not have.

So I looked into the journal Advances in Pharmaceutics. It is literally one of over 550 journals this group publishes. As far as I can tell. It has not published any articles to date and nor does it have any papers in press. So no impact factor.

But I got a further surprise when I looked at the article processing charge of $500. This is obviously much lower than many established journals in this field charge to make an article open access (generally ~$2000-3000). I would also mention that recently a co-author submitted a paper and has it in press at another Hindawi journal called Journal of Computational Medicine. This was published for free as he is a member of the editorial board. Overall the review and publishing process was pretty straightforward and I have to admit the likes of PLoS could probably learn a thing or too.

So I can see that with more of these new (open access) journals proliferating it may put more pressure on the established publishers including Springer, Wiley, Elsevier and PLoS to lower costs for open access articles or perhaps they may also start paying honorariums for articles ?

But then again, unless you are really in need of the pin money, $1000 is a drop in the ocean and of course for scientists this would compete with writing grants and teaching which are more lucrative and important. The strategies of new open access publishers are getting interesting and each day brings something new to ponder. I will decline the money for the time being, but $10,000 for an article would be a different story.


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