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Open Access Journals: Home

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

How Open Is It?


Alison Kissling

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Alison Kissling
she, her, hers
Cincinnati Children's
Edward L Pratt Research Library
3333 Burnet Ave ML3012
Cincinnati, OH 45229
Subjects: NIH Related Guides

Latest News

Dec 6, 2016-More than 600 Springer Nature journals have adopted a new sharing, archiving and citation of research data "good practice" policy. For the full article written by Gary Price go to:
To view the research data policies go to:


Further Reading

Check out Peter Suber's overview of Open Access: Stuber is considered the main driver of the OA movement in publishing.

Further help-see our journal selection tips