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Open Access (OA) Publishing

A brief guide to finding quality open access (OA) journals in which to publish your research

Additional Resources

What is Open Access?

SPARC defines open access as:

The free use of research coupled with the rights to use these articles in a digital environment.


Public Access - is research that is required to be public due to grants or funding.



Gold OA: Means publishing with publishers that automatically and immediately make the work available online to all at no cost. (Jill Cirasella)

Green OA: Refers to materials that, regardless of where else they appear, are made available at no charge in an online open acces repository committed to long-term preservation. Journals are called "green" if they permit authors to self-archive their articles in OA repositories. (Jill Cirasella)

Hybrid Journals: These are journals that support open access and are basically two journals in one: a subscription journal and an open access journal. After acceptance you can choose how you wish to publish your article. (Elsevier)

Impact Factor: “Average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year” (JCR glossary).

In other words, it is a measure of a journal’s relative importance in a subject category, and a legitimate source for impact factors is Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports®

Open Access (OA) Literature: Barrier-free access to online works and other resources. OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of needless copyright and licensing restrictions. (Peter Suber)

Pros & Cons of Open Access


  • Articles are free to anyone
  • They are accessible to researchers in developing countries
  • There are more journals in which to publish
  • They are often thought to be more frequently cited (Perhaps due to ease of access, not necessarily because of higher quality)


  • Often the author (or proxy) pays article processing charge
  • There may be concerns regarding less quality control
  • There is a concern about whether your article will be permanently archived
  • It is more difficult to distinguish between credible and predatory journals