Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Access (OA) Publishing

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

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