I had a co-authored paper accepted a while back (I'm second author) and we got the proofs the other day along with the page charges. My U has a process to obtain money to "cover" publication costs. We are limited to $500 per year. My co-author and I (in the same department) thought we could contribute $500 each to the charges for the paper (which are just over $1000). Our admin assistant checked to see whether we needed two forms and this is the email I just got from her:
I spoke w/[research office person] to check if we needed to do 2 applications or how it worked. S/he said that $500 is the maximum for the paper. S/he could split the $500 between the two of you and you both would have $250 left to use towards the next reprint or the total $500 could go towards one of you, and one of you would still have $500 to use. I've also spoken with [dept. chair] about where you're supposed to get the remaining $527. S/he said the department would support each of you for $200, which leaves $127. I've checked your contingency and grant overhead accounts and Addy has $100, and [co-author] has $50. So that will cover the total. How's that sound?This pisses me off for several reasons.
- I have not used that alotted $500 every year (but apparently it's 'use it or lose it'),
- I am SECOND author on the paper, but since my co-author used up his/her contingency money last year on OTHER page charges (so s/he's being penalized for too many pubs??), I have more to spend,
- why the hell does the U have this $500 per paper limit? If we use our funds on one paper, that is our own problem,
- is it reasonable to limit our funds on required activities (including how our conference travel funds cover little more than REGISTRATION at this point),
- if our department can come up with $400, is another $127 really a hardship?
ETA: I wanted to follow up on ScienceWoman's and Chaser's comments about using grant money for travel, publication costs, etc. My department does not have a strong record for getting grant money (we teach five courses per year and have no PhD program). Since I came here, I have been trying to obtain grants despite this lack of mentoring and support (those of you you've read my blog for a while have heard about some of my trials and tribulations there). So far, I have not had any success, so I am left without any supplemental money for papers and travel. Every time these issues come up, I am reminded about those unfunded proposals, too.