Open Access Journals

 

What are open access journals?

Open access publications are commonly defined as being "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions." (Suber)

Scholarly journals that use an open access publishing model are a partial remedy to the access limitations that high subscriptions rates place on much scholarly/research knowledge today.  By choosing to publish in open access journals, faculty are able to make their work available to a much broader audience than is possible in traditional subscription-based journals.  

 

How do open access journals work?

Not all open access journals are operated in the same way.  However, there are several primary models for open access journals:

No Fees: There are no subscription fees and no author fees; articles are free to read immediately upon publication.  These journals usually depend on institutional support or other funding sources.

Author Pays: There are no subscription fees, but authors are required to pay a fee (after acceptance) to help offset the costs of publication.  Author fees vary in size, and are often offset by grant funding.  All articles are free to read upon publication.

Delayed Open Access: There is a rolling embargo (usually of 6-12 months) on new content; if you wish to read new content immediately upon publication, you must subscribe to the journal.  After the embargo period is over, however, all content is openly available.

Partial Open Access:  The publisher may make portions of the journal openly available (for example, all research articles), but may restrict other portions (for example, review articles) to subscribers only.

Author Choice: The journal has a traditional subscription model, but individual authors may choose to pay a fee and make their articles available for free on the journal's website.

 

Does open access mean that it's not peer reviewed?

NO. "Open access" refers to a journal's economic model - it has no relationship to the reviewing model of the journal.  For the purposes of evaluation, promotion or tenure, a journal's status as open access should be irrelevant.  Every journal, whether subscription-based or open access, should be judged on the same criteria: the rigor of the peer review process, the qualifications of the editorial membership, and the quality of the literature published in the journal.