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Price of Research Papers

The spreadsheet below allows to calculate the price of a research paper. Edit the green fields to find out the cost of a paper written by you:


  • Lower costs indicate more efficiency (seen from the funding body’s perspective).
  • Papers are of course seldomly written alone, and teams that write papers come usually from different hierarchy levels (students, postdocs, professors). Nevertheless, rough estimates suggest that the cost for a paper in each hierarchy group are similar, as students are cheapest but write the fewest papers, professors are most expensive but devote only limited time to research, and postdocs are somewhere in the middle (produce more papers than students, but are also more expensive).
  • One may argue whether research should be measured only in terms of produced papers. This is an issue worth a separate discussion however.
  • Different conferences are differently prestiguous. This is not considered here.


  • The cost per paper may be an interesting metric for assessing researchers productivity.
  • The value of a conference with 40 accepted papers could be measured by the value of the disseminated research as somewhere around 1-2 million Euro.
  • Common publication metrics (publications, citations, h-index) are not adequate for assessing the efficiency of a researcher (cost per produced paper), as they do not weight by the number of coauthors.
  • Many conferences still use unreadable 2-column formats and/or prohibit colour figures. This is an odd valuation for research that funding bodies paid 38.000 Euros for.

Open Questions

  • What is your cost-per-paper? Please email me your variables, I would be happy to create a comparison among different countries and/or universities. If desired, I will treat your name and/or organisation anonymized.