Ran into an interesting journal business model this week. The American Journal of Agricultural Economics charges a page fee for accepted manuscripts. Not a submission fee for all manuscripts. Not an excess page charge for articles longer than some set limit.
Here's what their webpage says (way down at the bottom of "instructions to authors)":
"Major support for this journal comes from page charges of $40 per printed page for papers published, or a fraction thereof payable by the supporting institution or granting agency."
So a 20 journal page article will set you back $800. Weird but probably do-able.
But here's what their letter a couple days ago to Mrs. Angus said:
"Please be aware that AJAE levies page charges for accepted manuscripts in the amount of $95 per published page, and you should apprise any co-authors of your joint responsibility for this obligation in the event that your manuscript is accepted."
That's $1900 for a 20 page paper.
People, that is some serious jack.
For those of you wondering why Mrs. Angus has any truck with the AJAE, she was working with a grad student from Ghana who was interested in tropical agriculture and they ended up with a joint paper. It cited a lot of AJAE pieces, so there it went (without them having read the fine print on the website, let alone them guessing the > 100% increase in fees the journal has levied).
If you were running a journal and wanted to use your fee structures to maximize the average quality of a submission, what would you do?
Is average quality of submission even the correct maximand? If not, what is?