- Types of Open Access Journals
- Benefits of Open Access Journals
- Challenges Facing Open-Access Journals
- Addressing Challenges of Open Access Journals
- Open Access Journals in Different Disciplines
- Are Open Access Journals Indexed in Databases like Scopus and Web of Science?
- Whether Open Access Journals have Q1,Q2,Q3 and Q4 rankings
- How can I Find Open Access Journals in my Field of Study?
- How Does the Peer Review Process Work for Open Access Journals?
- How are Open Access Journals Funded?
- Whether open access journals are paid journals?
- If a Journal charges APC can it be Considered of Low Quality?
- Should I go for Open Access Journals or Subscription Based Journals for my Publication?
Open access journals are scholarly journals that make their articles freely available to readers on the internet. Unlike traditional subscription-based journals, which require readers to pay to access articles, open access journals allow anyone with an internet connection to read, download, and share articles for free.
Open access journals have revolutionized the way scholarly communication works by making academic research available to anyone with an internet connection. With the increasing demand for open access to research, the popularity of open access journals has grown tremendously in recent years. However, as with any emerging trend, there are questions and concerns surrounding open access publishing.
Here are some statistics regarding open access journals:
- The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) currently lists over 16,000 open access journals from around the world.
- Around 30% of all peer-reviewed journal articles are estimated to be published in open access journals.
- The number of articles published in open access journals has been steadily increasing over the past decade. In 2019, over 1.5 million articles were published in open access journals.
- The majority of open access journals do not charge authors for article processing fees (APCs). However, there are some open access journals that do charge APCs, with the average fee being around $2,000 USD.
- In terms of subject areas, the largest number of open access journals are in the fields of medicine, science, and engineering.
- Some of the most popular open access journals include PLOS ONE, Scientific Reports, BMC Biology, and Frontiers in Psychology.
- The open access movement has been driven by a number of factors, including the increasing cost of traditional subscription-based journals, the desire to increase access to scientific research, and the growing importance of open science principles.
In this discussion, I have given details on various aspects of open access publishing, including its definition, types, benefits, challenges, and differences with subscription-based journals.
I have also discussed how open access publishing is being used in different disciplines and addressed some of the frequently asked questions about open access journals. Additionally, I have analyzed the peer-review process, funding models, and quality control mechanisms of open access journals.
This comprehensive discussion aims to provide readers with a nuanced understanding of open access publishing and its potential impact on the future of scholarly communication.
Types of Open Access Journals
There are two main types of open access journals: gold and green. These two types differ in how they make their content available to readers.
Gold Open Access Journals
Gold open access journals are those that make their articles freely available to readers immediately upon publication, without any restrictions or embargoes. Authors are typically required to pay a fee to publish their articles in gold open access journals. This fee, known as an Article Processing Charge (APC), covers the cost of publication and makes the journal financially sustainable.
Here are some examples of Gold open access journals in Engineering and Computer Science domains:
- IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society
- ACM Transactions on Computer Systems
- Journal of Internet Technology
- Journal of Machine Learning Research
- IEEE Access
- Journal of Computer Science and Technology
- IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems
- Frontiers in Robotics and AI
- IEEE Transactions on Big Data.
Green Open Access Journals
Green open access journals are those that make their articles freely available to readers after a certain period of time, typically after a specified embargo period. Authors publish their articles in subscription-based journals, but also make a copy of the article available in an open access repository, such as an institutional repository or a subject-specific repository.
Here are some Green open access journals in Engineering and Computer Science domains:
- Journal of Computer Science and Technology (JCST)
- International Journal of Engineering and Technology (IJET)
- Journal of Computer Science and Technology (JCST)
- Journal of Information and Communication Technology (JICT)
- Journal of Applied Research and Technology (JART)
- Advances in Electrical and Computer Engineering (AECE)
- Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering (JECE)
- International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications (IJACSA)
- Journal of Computer Science and Applications (JCSA)
- Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences (JEAS)
Comparison of Gold Open Access journals and Green Open Access journals
Table comparing Gold Open Access journals and Green Open Access journals across various parameters:
|Parameter||Gold Open Access Journals||Green Open Access Journals|
|Ownership||Owned and operated by publishers||Owned and operated by universities or scholarly societies|
|Business Model||Funded by Article Processing Charges (APCs) or subsidies||Subscription-based, but allow authors to self-archive|
|Publication Speed||Typically faster than subscription-based journals||Same as subscription-based journals|
|Availability||Immediate access to full-text articles||Delayed access due to embargo periods|
|Copyrights||Authors typically retain copyright||Authors typically retain copyright|
|Archiving||No need for self-archiving as articles are already available||Authors self-archive articles in institutional repositories|
|Journal Reputation||Established Gold OA journals have high impact factors||Green OA journals may not have established impact factors|
|Compliance||Authors are automatically compliant with funder mandates||Authors must ensure compliance with funder mandates|
It’s important to note that not all journals fit neatly into one category or the other, and there can be variations in the specific policies and practices of individual journals.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Gold and Green Open Access Journals
There are advantages and disadvantages to both gold and green open access journals. One advantage of gold open access journals is that articles are immediately available to readers, without any restrictions or embargoes. However, the APCs required by gold open access journals can be a barrier to some authors, particularly those in developing countries or those without grant funding.
On the other hand, green open access journals allow authors to publish in prestigious subscription-based journals and make their articles freely available after a specified embargo period. However, this approach can be more time-consuming and requires authors to navigate different journal policies and embargoes.
Overall, both gold and green open access journals have contributed to the growth of open access publishing and have helped to make research more widely available to readers.
Benefits of Open Access Journals
There are many benefits to publishing in open access journals, both for authors and for readers. Some of the key benefits include:
Increased Visibility and Impact
Open access journals allow articles to be freely available to anyone with an internet connection, which can increase the visibility and impact of the research. Studies have shown that articles published in open access journals receive more citations than those published in subscription-based journals.
Open access journals in computer science, such as the Journal of Machine Learning Research and the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, have been shown to receive more citations than non-open access journals in the same field.
Greater Access to Research
Open access journals remove barriers to accessing research, particularly for readers who may not have access to subscription-based journals through their institutions. This can be particularly important for researchers in developing countries or for independent researchers who do not have access to library resources.
For example, the Journal of Machine Learning Research provides free online access to all of its articles, making it easier for researchers and students in developing countries or without access to library resources to access the latest research.
Preservation of Knowledge
Open access journals can help to preserve knowledge by making research available in perpetuity. Many open access journals use digital archiving services to ensure that their content is available and accessible in the long-term.
For example, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Digital Library provides digital access to all of its journals, conference proceedings, and magazines, ensuring that this knowledge is available and accessible for future generations of researchers.
Collaboration and Innovation
Open access journals can facilitate collaboration and innovation by allowing researchers to build on each other’s work more easily. With open access to research, researchers can more easily access and build on previous research, leading to new discoveries and innovations.
For example, the Journal of Machine Learning Research encourages authors to make their data and code available, which can help to facilitate collaboration and build upon the work of other researchers.
Acceptance of Exteneded Versions of Conference Papers
Many open access journals accept extended papers from conferences, as long as the papers meet the journal’s submission criteria and go through the standard peer-review process.
Conference proceedings often include preliminary or early versions of research papers, which can be extended and revised for submission to a journal. This allows authors to build upon their conference work and present a more comprehensive and polished version of their research.
You can visit my article on How to convert a Conference Paper to an Extended Paper for a Journal for further details on how to extend your conference paper to a journal paper.
Overall, open access journals can provide many benefits to researchers and students, including increased visibility and impact, greater access to research, preservation of knowledge, and collaboration and innovation. With the growth of open access publishing in the field, it is easier than ever for researchers to make their work widely available and accessible to others.
Challenges Facing Open-Access Journals
While open access journals have many benefits, there are also several challenges that they face. Some of the key challenges include:
Open access journals require funding to cover the costs of editorial work, peer review, and publishing. While traditional journals have relied on subscription fees to cover these costs, open access journals often require alternative funding models. Some open access journals charge article processing fees (APCs) to authors, while others rely on institutional or government funding. However, not all researchers or institutions have the financial resources to support these models.
Example: The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a well-known open access publisher that relies on APCs to cover their costs. However, PLOS also offers fee waivers for authors who cannot afford the fees.
Open access journals often face sustainability challenges, particularly in terms of maintaining long-term viability. Many open access journals are run by non-profit organizations or academic institutions, and they may struggle to secure funding or to maintain a stable revenue stream. This can lead to issues with staff turnover, lack of resources, and difficulty in keeping up with publishing schedules.
Example: In 2020, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) implemented a new sustainability plan, which included a tiered pricing model for new applications, and an increase in fees for existing publishers. The DOAJ also solicited donations from supporters to help fund their operations.
Open access journals often face criticism regarding their quality control, particularly in cases where they have lower rejection rates than traditional journals. This has led to concerns that some open access journals may be engaging in “predatory publishing,” or accepting articles without proper peer review in order to generate revenue. This can be particularly problematic for researchers who may not be able to differentiate between reputable and disreputable open access journals.
Example: The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) provides guidelines for ethical publishing practices, including peer review and quality control. Many reputable open access publishers, such as PLOS and BioMed Central, are members of COPE and adhere to their guidelines.
Addressing Challenges of Open Access Journals
There are several initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges facing open access journals. Some examples include:
Creative Commons Licensing
Creative Commons licenses allow authors to retain copyright over their work, while allowing others to use and distribute their work in a variety of ways. This can help to increase the visibility and impact of research, and can also provide a framework for sharing and reusing research.
Open Science Framework
The Open Science Framework is a web-based platform that provides tools for researchers to collaborate, share data, and publish their work. The platform is open source and allows researchers to easily share their work with others, facilitating collaboration and innovation.
Open Access Agreements
Some institutions and consortia have negotiated open access agreements with publishers, allowing researchers at those institutions to publish their work in open access journals without paying APCs. This can help to reduce financial barriers to publishing in open access journals and can encourage more researchers to adopt open access publishing.
In conclusion, while there are certainly challenges facing open access journals, there are also many initiatives aimed at addressing these challenges. By continuing to support open access publishing and by working to develop sustainable funding models and quality control practices, we can help to ensure that open access journals remain a vital part of the scholarly publishing landscape.
Open Access Journals in Different Disciplines
Open access publishing is being used in a variety of different disciplines, with many different models and practices. Here are some examples of open access journals in different fields:
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open is a well-known open access journal in the field of medicine. It covers all aspects of medical research, with a particular focus on evidence-based medicine. The journal publishes articles on a range of topics, including clinical trials, epidemiology, and health services research.
PLOS Biology is an open access journal that covers all areas of biology, from molecular and cellular biology to ecology and evolution. The journal is known for its rigorous peer review process and has published many groundbreaking articles in the field of biology.
Chemistry Central Journal is an open access journal that covers all areas of chemistry. The journal is notable for its commitment to open science, and encourages authors to share their raw data and code in order to increase transparency and reproducibility.
The Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR) is an open access journal that covers all aspects of machine learning. The journal is known for its high-quality articles and its commitment to open science, including making its articles available in a variety of formats and languages.
The Journal of Open Psychology Data is an open access journal that publishes data sets from a variety of psychological studies. The journal encourages researchers to share their data in order to increase transparency and to facilitate replication and reuse of research.
These are just a few examples of the many open access journals in different disciplines. Each field has its own unique challenges and practices when it comes to open access publishing, but the overall goal of increasing access to research and promoting open science is shared across all disciplines.
Are Open Access Journals Indexed in Databases like Scopus and Web of Science?
Many open access journals are indexed in databases like Scopus and Web of Science, which are important tools for finding and evaluating academic literature. In fact, a growing number of open access journals are being added to these databases as the popularity and credibility of open access publishing increases.
Scopus is a bibliographic database that indexes academic literature from scientific, technical, medical, and social science disciplines. It contains over 70 million records, including articles from more than 23,000 peer-reviewed journals. Scopus includes a wide range of open access journals and offers tools to help researchers track and analyze citation data.
Web of Science is another bibliographic database that indexes scholarly literature from a range of disciplines, including science, social science, and the arts and humanities. It contains over 33,000 peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and other sources. Web of Science also indexes a large number of open access journals and provides tools to help researchers analyze citation data and track the impact of their work.
Indexing in these databases is important for open access journals because it increases their visibility and credibility among researchers, which can lead to more submissions and higher impact factors.
Whether Open Access Journals have Q1,Q2,Q3 and Q4 rankings
Open access journals can be ranked in the same way as traditional subscription-based journals, using metrics such as the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and quartile rankings (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4).
The JIF is a measure of the average number of citations per article published in a particular journal over a specified period of time. Journals are ranked based on their JIF, with higher values indicating greater impact.
Quartile rankings are another way of categorizing journals based on their impact. Journals are divided into four quartiles, with Q1 representing the top 25% of journals in a particular field based on their JIF, and Q4 representing the bottom 25%.
Many open access journals are now included in databases such as Web of Science and Scopus, which are used to calculate these rankings. Inclusion in these databases is often based on the quality of the journal’s content, its editorial processes, and other factors related to its impact and visibility in the field.
I have written article on Unlocking the Mystery of Journal Rankings(Q1,Q2,Q3,Q4): A Comprehensive Guide. Please refer to the article for a further understanding of journal rankings.
How can I Find Open Access Journals in my Field of Study?
There are several ways to find open access journals in your field of study. Here are some methods you can use:
DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
DOAJ is a comprehensive directory of open access journals covering all areas of research. You can browse the directory by subject area or search for specific journals using keywords. DOAJ also provides information about the peer review process and the licensing policies of each journal.
Open Access Button
Open Access Button is a browser extension that helps you find open access versions of articles that are behind paywalls. If you come across an article that you can’t access, simply click the Open Access Button, and it will search for an open access version of the article.
Google Scholar is a search engine that indexes scholarly literature across many disciplines. You can use it to find open access articles by searching for keywords related to your field of study and then filtering the results to show only open access articles.
Your University Library
Many university libraries have subscriptions to open access journals and can help you find open access articles in your field of study. You can also search for open access journals in the library catalog or ask a librarian for help.
Academic Social Networks
Academic social networks like ResearchGate and Academia.edu often have open access articles posted by authors. You can search for articles by topic or author and then download open access versions of the articles.
By using these methods, you should be able to find a wide range of open access journals in your field of study.
How Does the Peer Review Process Work for Open Access Journals?
The peer review process for open access journals is similar to that of traditional subscription-based journals. Here is a general overview of how the peer review process works for open access journals:
The author submits their manuscript to the journal for review.
The journal editor performs an initial check to ensure that the manuscript meets the journal’s scope and standards.
The editor selects two or more experts in the field to review the manuscript. The reviewers read the manuscript and provide feedback on its quality, originality, and relevance to the field.
Based on the reviewers’ feedback, the editor makes a decision on whether to accept or reject the manuscript. In some cases, revisions may be required before the manuscript can be accepted.
If the manuscript is accepted, it is edited, typeset, and published online. The article is then made freely available to readers worldwide.
The main difference between the peer review process for open access journals and traditional journals is that open access journals typically make the review process more transparent. Some open access journals use an open peer review model, where the reviewers’ identities are disclosed, and the review comments are made public. This allows readers to see how the review process works and to evaluate the quality of the review comments themselves.
Overall, the peer review process is an essential part of ensuring the quality and credibility of open access journals. It helps to maintain high standards of research and ensures that published articles are reliable and accurate.
How are Open Access Journals Funded?
Open access journals are typically funded through a variety of sources, including:
Article Processing Charges (APCs)
Many open access journals charge authors a fee for the publication of their articles. These fees are often referred to as article processing charges (APCs) and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per article. These fees are typically paid by the author, their institution, or their funding agency.
Subsidies from Institutions or Funders
Some open access journals receive subsidies from institutions or funding agencies to help cover the cost of publication. These subsidies may be provided as a lump sum or on a per-article basis.
Advertising or Sponsorships
Some open access journals may generate revenue through advertising or sponsorships. However, it’s important to note that this can potentially create conflicts of interest if the advertisers or sponsors have a vested interest in the research being published.
Some open access journals may be run entirely by volunteers who donate their time and expertise to the journal. This can help to keep costs low, but may also result in longer publication times or lower quality control.
Donations or Crowdfunding
Some open access journals may rely on donations or crowdfunding campaigns to help fund their operations.
It’s worth noting that not all open access journals charge APCs, and not all subscription-based journals are funded solely by subscription fees. The funding model for a journal can vary depending on the specific journal and its publisher.
Whether open access journals are paid journals?
Open access journals can be either paid or unpaid, depending on the specific journal and its funding model. Some open access journals charge authors an article processing charge (APC) for the publication of their article, while others are funded through alternative means such as subsidies from institutions or funding agencies, advertising, sponsorships, or volunteer work.
However, it’s important to note that even when open access journals charge an APC, the cost is typically borne by the author, their institution, or their funding agency, rather than by readers who want to access the article. This means that readers are able to freely access and read the research, even if there is a cost associated with the publication of the article.
It’s also worth noting that not all open access journals charge APCs. Some open access journals are fully funded through subsidies, advertising, sponsorships, or other means, and do not charge authors any fees for publication.
If a Journal charges APC can it be Considered of Low Quality?
The quality of an open access journal is not necessarily determined by whether or not it charges an Article Processing Charge (APC). APCs are a common way for open access journals to cover their publishing costs, but they are not a direct indicator of the quality of the research or the journal itself.
Many high-quality open access journals charge APCs, while some low-quality open access journals may be available for free or through a subscription model. Ultimately, the quality of a journal is determined by factors such as its editorial board, peer review process, and adherence to ethical publishing practices, rather than its funding model.
It’s important for authors to carefully evaluate the quality of any journal they are considering publishing in, regardless of whether it charges an APC or is available for free or through a subscription. This can involve researching the journal’s impact factor, reviewing its editorial policies, and considering feedback from other authors who have published in the journal.
I have written the following articles on identifying good quality journals and avoiding predatory journals. Please do visit them to get further insights.
Avoiding Predatory Conferences and Journals: A Step by Step Guide for Researchers
08 Reliable Steps to find Good Journals for your Research Paper Publication
Should I go for Open Access Journals or Subscription Based Journals for my Publication?
As the landscape of academic publishing continues to evolve, researchers and scholars are increasingly faced with a choice between two distinct models: Open Access journals and Subscription-Based journals. While both models serve the purpose of disseminating research findings and facilitating scholarly discourse, they differ in important ways that can impact authors, readers, and institutions.
In the table below, we compare Open Access journals and Subscription-Based journals across a range of parameters, including publication speed, availability, ownership, cost, and peer review. By examining these differences, researchers can make more informed decisions about where to publish their work and how to access the latest research in their field.
Here is a table comparing Open Access journals and Subscription-based journals across various parameters:
|Parameter||Open Access Journals||Subscription-Based Journals|
|Ownership||Owned and operated by publishers||Owned and operated by publishers|
|Business Model||Funded by Article Processing Charges (APCs) or subsidies||Funded by subscriptions and/or pay-per-view|
|Publication Speed||Typically faster than subscription-based journals||Can vary depending on the journal and publisher|
|Availability||Immediate access to full-text articles||Access limited to subscribers or those who pay per article|
|Copyrights||Authors typically retain copyright||Authors typically transfer copyright to the publisher|
|Archiving||Articles are often archived in open repositories||Articles may be archived in proprietary databases|
|Journal Reputation||Established OA journals have high impact factors||Established subscription-based journals have high impact factors|
|Readership||Can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection||Limited to subscribers or those who pay per article|
|Cost||Authors pay APCs or subsidies, readers pay nothing||Readers pay subscription fees or pay-per-view fees|
|Open Data||Often require data to be openly available||No requirement for data to be openly available|
|Peer Review||Generally subject to the same rigorous peer review standards as subscription-based journals||Generally subject to the same rigorous peer review standards as Open Access journals|
It’s important to note that not all journals fit neatly into one category or the other, and there can be variation in the specific policies and practices of individual journals. Additionally, the parameters listed in the table may not be equally important or applicable to all disciplines and fields of study.
I have written a detailed article on Copyright transfer and Granting Exclusive Rights . You can get better insights of benefits of Open Access Journals in terms of owning the copyrights by the authors.
Open Access journals have revolutionized the academic publishing landscape by providing immediate and free access to scholarly research. They have been embraced by researchers, funding agencies, and institutions alike, as they help to promote greater dissemination of knowledge, increase research impact, and facilitate collaboration.
While Open Access journals face several challenges, including funding, sustainability, and quality control, there are many efforts underway to address these issues and ensure the long-term viability of Open Access publishing. By contrast, Subscription-Based journals continue to play an important role in scholarly publishing, providing access to high-quality research for those who can afford it. However, they are often criticized for their high costs, limited accessibility, and slow publication times.
As academic publishing continues to evolve, researchers and scholars must weigh the pros and cons of both Open Access and Subscription-Based models, and choose the publishing route that best suits their needs and goals.