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What is Open Access?
Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. OA is a newer form of publishing but many of these journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. There are two types of OA, Gratis and Libre.Gratis means publications are available immediately online and free of charge. Libre means publications are available immediately online and free of charge but also includes re-use rights. Many traditional publishers are now offering OA options e.g. Elsevier, Springer and Taylor and Francis.
Some other benefits of publishing in an OA journal include:
- Maximizes Exposure and Reach
- Fulfills the Requirements of Funders (e.g NIH Public Access)
- Preserves Publications Long Term
Understanding Open Access
Questions to Ask When Vetting an OA Journal
- Is the journal indexed in a reputable database such as Web of Knowledge* or Scopus* to name a few? Is the publication included in UlrichsWeb * which searches more than 300,000 periodicals and gives detailed information including if the item is peer-reviewed and how many years it has been in publication.
- When looking at the journal's website, can you see anything such as an association with a university or a professional organization? Is it peer reviewed (usually found in the About this journal section)? Does the publication include an editorial board with credentials?
- Are publishing fees and copyright ownership clearly spelled out on the website?
- Is there evidence that the publisher is a member of an industry organization such as Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?
* You must login to these sources through UC following these directions.
Tools for Vetting an OA journal
Beall's List of Preditory Publishers
While the popular Beall's Predatory Publisher's List went off-line in Jan 2017, you can link to the last Internet Archive copy dated Jan 11, 2017.
DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
Follow these guidelines to ensure you are choosing a reputable journal. This site is part of a campaign in response to predatory journals and includes the support of organizations such as Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and BioMedCentral.
Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison
This cross-sectional comparison published in BMC Medicine in 2017 looks into the characteristics of possible predatory journals, as well as considers legitimate open access and subscription-based biomedical journals.
How Open Is It?
How Open Is It?-Guide
"The “HowOpenIsIt?®” Open Access Spectrum (OAS) guide standardizes Open Access terminology in an easily understandable, comprehensive resource created by PLOS, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). The guide defines core components of Open Access derived from the articulation of basic tenets in the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI)."
Further help-see our journal selection tips