As I explained last year, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols is something of an experiment as a publishing business model. Because some of our articles come from our lab manuals, where we owe authors and editors royalties, we chose to extend those royalty payments to authors of new, original articles. Writing up methods is usually not a priority for most scientists, they’re more focused on data-driven papers. We wanted to provide a nice incentive for authors to 1) write up their methods and 2) publish them with us, rather than other journals who don’t offer such incentives. We’re not talking about huge amounts of money, but as I recall from my graduate student days, every little bit helps. If I could have published a paper AND gotten some cash for a night on the town, I would have been thrilled.

The way it works is that each year we set aside a percentage of our subscription revenue for the journal. This total amount continues to grow as the journal’s subscription base continues to grow–and we’re happy to report that CSH Protocols is seeing a lot of uptake by the scientific community. That sum is then divided among all authors based on the usage of individual articles. Original articles generated a range from around $3 (for an article published right at the end of the year, with little time to accumulate readership) to one of our most-read articles, which will result in a payment of $367 for the author (our top original paper author wrote a set of two papers and will receive just over $600).

So, if you wrote an article for us that was published in 2008, you should expect to see a check in the mail in the next few weeks. We hope that this revenue sharing is a nice bonus for the hard work you put into your article and that this serves as an incentive to write up more methods for publication. And if you haven’t yet published with us, what are you waiting for?