Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Paying for Journal Covers

I've been approached by a journal I publish some of my work in, fairly well respected in the field, large publisher, to submit artwork for the cover. They say that I was selected because of the quality of the research. This makes feel very good and appreciated. Then in small print near the bottom of the email is says that if my artwork is selected, I will have to pay over $1000. How common is this? Is this something that is determined by the publisher or by the individual journal? I've only had request for a cover once before, I got the cover that time and that publisher did not ask for any money.

If this is common, then there is a huge bias for large well funded labs to get even more recognition and highlight how awesome they are based on the fact that they or their department/university have money. I don't have $1000 to pay for open access publication, yet alone for cover art. I asked my chair and the college and they don't have money for this.

It's not Science or Nature, no one gets paper copies of middle of the road journals. So I would be paying $1000 to be listed on the front page of their website for about 2 weeks, and then be able to flaunt my cover art on my group's webpage, suggesting my work is awesome, but really it's that I had money to pay to get the cover. Question 2, is this a worthwhile investment of funds for someone going up for tenure soon?


  1. As far as I know it is not common. I had cover selected two times by high impact journals but no money was needed or requested.

    It is not that worth while. No one cares if your artwork made it to the top of the journal page (especially if you have to shell out $1000).

    Hope this helps

  2. Actually, I have been part of and/or evaluating large centers (MRSECs, NSECs, EFRCs) and the number of journal covers is a big deal whenever review happen. It's up there with PIs' awards. People put them on their websites and boast about them.

    I don't know what the journal is, but at the level of say, APL or NanoLett or ACS Nano it is very worthwhile to be on the cover (it does't have to be Science or Nature). I don't know about the charges, but having a journal cover is a big deal on the physical science side of STEM in my experience.