Science Publications (http://thescipub.com/) is a company that publishes peer-reviewed research online in 29 different journals with unlimited access for the general public. Authors pay $45-$70/page for the first 8 pages and $100/page for extra pages. This fee covers:
“the journal’s production, online availability, hosting and archiving and allows lower subscription prices and thus a greater circulation for the journal as well as immediate online availability for unlimited data download world wide.”
Other journals that charge a subscription fee may not have page charges, such as Theriogenology. However, if you want to make your article in Theriogenology “open access” there is a $2,500 fee.
Some journals that charge for a subscription will still charge authors a page fee for publishing. The Journal of Animal Science charges $85/page for conventional publication and anywhere from $2500-$3250 for open access publication. A journal that charges both the author and the reader for the costs of publishing the article may be able to charge the reader less for a subscription. A one year subscription to the Journal of Animal Science costs $135 whereas a one year subscription to Theriogenology (no page charge for publishing) costs $565.
It seems that the money to make publishing happen has to come from somewhere, which is really just common sense. Making information widely available is certainly cheaper than it was in Gutenberg’s day, but there is still overhead associated with editing articles and publishing them online. For now, the publishing companies have put that burden back on the grants (I’m assuming authors don’t pay out of pocket) that funded the research itself. Let the authors choose whether or not they want to spend the money to widely disseminate their information.
The first journal mentioned in this post will publish articles as open access for a more reasonable rate, but authors will want to submit articles to the most esteemed journals they can. The impact factors for the three journals in this post are listed below:
AJAVS impact factor: 0.65
JAS impact factor: 2.58
Theriogenology impact factor: 2.08
Somehow it all comes back to bragging rights, reputation, and money.