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Open Access: Open Access Journal Evaluation

This is a guide to issues in open access, author rights, copyright, open licensing, and scholarly communication.

Open Access Journal Publishing

Characteristics of open access journals include:

Types of Open Access Journals

In terms of business operations, there are three types of open access journals:

  1. Those that do not charge a fee for publishing because they are financially self-sustaining
  2. Those that charge an article processing charge (APC) to cover costs (and to make profits)
  3. Subscription-based journals that offer an open access option for an APC (hybrid journals)

What to Consider when Selecting an Open Access Journal for Publishing

Authors may want to think about the following issues before submitting a manuscript to an open access journal: 

  • Editorial board members and reviewers
  • Track record of journal
  • Communication of journal policies and practices
  • Contact information for journal
  • Author rights and licensing issues
  • Indexing and marketing of journal
  • Preservation of published content for perpetual online access 

This list is by no means exhaustive.  Details of these issues are addressed in this presentation

Please note that the same criteria can also be applied to evaluate subscription-based journals. 

Desirable Features of Open Access Journals

The following list shows desirable features for (open access) journals.  It is built upon the Open Access Journal Quality Indicators from the Grand Valley State University Libraries. 

  • The editors, editorial board members, and reviewers are knowledgeable researchers/scholars/ practitioners in the concerned discipline(s). (not applicable to student-run journals)
  • The scope of the journal is well-defined and clearly stated on the journal site.
  • Published articles are within the scope of the journal and of good quality.
  • The journal enjoys a good reputation among researchers/scholars/practitioners in the concerned discipline(s).
  • The peer review process (or quality control mechanism) is clearly explained.
  • Information about charges for publishing in the journal is clearly presented.
  • The contact information for the publisher or editorial staff is sufficient and can be easily located on the journal site.
  • Copyright ownership and rights for reuse are clearly stated.
  • Published articles are included in academic article databases and/or indexes, especially those that serve the discipline(s) the journal focuses on.
  • The publisher has a policy and a mechanism to preserve the journal content for long-term access.
  • The journal is affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic/research institution.
  • Dates of submission, acceptance, and publication are recorded for each published article.
  • The journal has an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).
  • Each published article has a digital object identifier (DOI).
  • The journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • The publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association and observe its Code of Conduct

Some negative signs are noted in this handout.  If you have any questions or comments on the above features, please feel free to contact your academic liaison or Digital Scholarship in the University of Kentucky Libraries. 

Resources for Selecting Open Access Journals