I have a paper that would be a great fit for BMC Bioinformatics, but the article-processing charge of $1700US is beyond my means.
The Instruction to Authors page states that “waivers or discounts are granted on a case-by-case basis to authors who lack funds” so I decided to apply. To do this, one must first upload all components of the submission, then check the box that says that you would like to apply for a fee waiver. Here is the explanation I provided:
This work was done as part of my PhD dissertation. I am currently unfunded and unemployed. Although I received tuition support and a stipend during much of the research, there are no funds available for open access publication of the research outputs. The grants of my advisor and co-author, Dr Wendy Chapman, are not related to this work. [Details: Funding from National Library of Medicine (training fellowship 5T15-LM007059-19 to HAP, 5R01-LM009427-01 to WWC)]
I feel passionate about releasing this work into the open domain: the research is about openly sharing research outputs and facilitating retrieval. It is especially important that researchers who may not have access to subscription journals can read about research methods and results such as those in our study, to ensure full participation in the opportunities (and potential limitations) of free, open, biomedical data resources.
Thank you for considering this request for a waiver.
Within two days, they replied:
Many thanks for considering BMC Bioinformatics for your research. We have considered your waiver request, and although we cannot grant a full waiver in this instance, in these exceptional circumstances, we can agree to a discount of the article-processing charge.
This would mean that if your manuscript was accepted you would have to pay a GBP 820.00/USD 1,360.00/EUR 920.00 article-processing charge on this article. Since you are based in United States of America, you will be charged the price of USD 1,360.00.
If you can pay this charge, you should go back to the submission pages for your manuscript, click ‘I agree to pay’, and then finish submitting. The link to your submission page is: [link]
I hope that you are happy with this, and are able to submit your manuscript to us for peer review.
BioMed Central Waivers
Unfortunately, $1360US is still beyond my means, so I will have to pursue other options.
I wonder in what cases BMC Bioinformatics might give a full waiver? Authors from developing countries, hopefully? ??
It is worth noting that PLoS appears to be much more willing to grant waivers when needed: “PLoS is committed to ensuring that our fee is never a barrier to publication and so we offer a waiver to any authors who do not have access to funds to cover our publication fees.”