Is the Bioinformatics Journal Unfairly Overcharging Researchers?

Is the Bioinformatics Journal Unfairly Overcharging Researchers?

Reader Dario Strbenac, who is a PhD student in Sydney, Australia wrote to us about very poor treatment he received from the Bioinformatics journal run by Oxford University Press. Were you also mistreated similarly, or is his experience an exception? I cannot think of a journal sending the email version of ‘high call volume’ response to the authors.

We have an Applications Note which was accepted. It was 2 pages long. However, after proofing, it is 3 pages long. This incurs a 100 pound excess page charge we were not expecting. Note that the Microsoft Word template on the Bioinformatics website is not the same as format of the final article. They changed their layout recently, but did not update the template which authors use. I e-mailed them a three weeks ago, and all I got was :

Dear Sir/Madam

We are experiencing high volumes of emails currently and as such have not been able to respond yet. Your query is still in our queue waiting for a customer Service Agent to become available to respond personally.

However, even though they don’t have the staff to answer customer questions, they do have enough staff to send out overdue notices :

Dear Author,

According to our records you were notified on of page and/or colour charges due for your manuscript ClassifyR: An R Package for Performance Assessment of

Classification with Applications to Transcriptomics but you have not yet completed the payment process for these charges. The page and/or colour charges are now overdue for payment.

Please go to our website at the link below and follow the on-screen instructions to make your payment.

Yours sincerely,

Oxford Journals

Oxford University Press

Tel: +44 (0)1865 35390 7


I also called their UK office one week ago. They said that they were sorry they could not find my e-mails to them because their e-mail server is currently not working and that they would contact the production office for me. It’s still unresolved, though. It’s been three weeks since first contact and they still didn’t reply to a simple e-mail question. It would be satisfying to expose this problem in a blog. Because they’re the most well- regarded journal in bioinformatics, I think they don’t care about customer service. They don’t have much to lose.


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Written by M. //