RPM at Evolgen faces a dilemma. He wants to publish in an open access journal with PLoS but doesn’t have the resources to pay for the costs of publication, which are roughly equivalent to the price of a spiffy new iMac. A fee waiver is an option, but he thinks failing to pay the cost of his paper’s publication harms the open access movement.
I think he should go for the waiver – the participation of authors is as important to the open access movement as hard currency. Furthermore, hard data on the number of people who need to apply for a fee waiver gives the open access movement ammunition when it campaigns for funding.
This dilemma is an excellent reason for universities to provide open access grants and become institutional members whose faculty receive discounts. I’m proud the University of Alberta is one of four vanguard universities in Canada participating in the PLoS initiative, and I hope they are joined by many more soon.