Q: Do I have to agree to pay the open access (OA) fee to a journal that became OA during my submission process?

Detailed Question -

I submitted my manuscript to European Journal of Cell Biology, and received a decision of Revise and Resubmit after the peer review. However, when I was going to submit the revised manuscript, the journal suddenly became an OA journal. Now, I cannot resubmit my manuscript until I agree to pay the OA fee. Do I have to agree to this?

1 Answer to this question

Hello Akikazu – Welcome to the forum.

Yes, it seems European Journal of Cell Biology is set to become OA from January 2021, as it states on their homepage. However, as it states too, articles submitted on or before September 30, 2020 are exempt from payment of the APCs. So, in case you submitted before this date, you don’t need to pay the APCs. In case you submitted after, you will need to pay the fees.

Nevertheless, you have some alternatives/options.

  • You could check with your institute to see if they could fund this amount.
  • Writing to the journal for a discount/waiver could be an option, but that is usually meant for researchers from developing economies.
  • If you wish to continue publishing non-OA with Elsevier itself, you could look up a similar journal using their Journal Finder, as it says in the last of their FAQs for the decision to go OA.

Of course, if options with Elsevier don’t work out, as you may know, you could withdraw from here and submit elsewhere. You would have lost some time, but you would have gained from the review; and you could submit this improved manuscript to some other journal with a possibly shorter time to the decision. Of course, if exercising this option, do let the new journal know of the background of the paper (with Elsevier) and only submit after the Elsevier journal confirms the withdrawal.

Hope that helps. If needed, you may consider our Journal Selection service to shorten the time to publication now. Alternatively, you may consider our AI-powered manuscript assessment tool, R Pubsure, that performs various checks to help improve your manuscript and also has a Journal Recommender feature. You may learn more about the tool here: R Pubsure

All the best for your next steps/decisions!