Q: Do I still need to pay the APC in case I don't receive a payment reminder?

Detailed Question -

My manuscript was accepted by an open-access (OA) journal of Taylor and Francis (T&F), and now my paper is available online. As per the journal guidelines, the author has to pay USD600 as the article-processing charge (APC). However, there has been no reminder for the payment. In such a case, can I just leave it as it is without paying? I mean, is it okay if I take no action from my side to make the payment?

1 Answer to this question

Firstly, congrats on your paper being accepted and published! You must be happy and excited!

Coming to your query, the situation you have described could well be the topic of discussion in an ethics class. Some would say that what you are possibly considering is unethical; some others that it’s inconsiderate; and still others that it’s smart or sensible. There will be a range of reactions based on different schools of thought. However, let’s keep that theoretical discussion aside and respond to your query in both an authentic way and a realistic way.

To begin, you haven’t mentioned how long it has been since your paper got accepted and published. It seems it hasn’t been much time. In which case, there has possibly been a slight delay from the journal in sending you the invoice. This could be due to a range of factors, from staffing to technology. However, journals have a largely efficient workflow for all stages of the publication cycle, and sooner or later, you are likely to receive the invoice.

Whatever be the journal challenge, the right or ethical thing to do, as you would well understand, is to make the payment. It is unlikely that the amount is proving a bit beyond your capacity, as you would have known about it during submission and would have budgeted for it. However, in case it is, you could write to the journal (and also your institute, if needed) to see if they could provide a discount or waiver – although these requests are typically made before submission.

The best thing to do though would be to proactively write to the journal informing them that you haven’t received the invoice and will make the payment as soon as it is ready. Apart from being the right or considerate action to take, it would also have them look at you with tremendous regard and appreciation. Additionally, it may hold well for you in case you submit a new manuscript to them anytime in the future.

There are many attributes that go toward making successful researchers, and integrity is a critical one, as you can read here: 12 Personal attributes of a successful researcher

Again, congrats on the paper being published. And trust you’ll make the right decision here.

For some of the points we discussed above, you may refer to the following resources: