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What is Open Access?

Publishing in trusted Open Access venues

Open Access journals and books are legitimate and beneficial methods of scholarly communication. Unfortunately, there are some publishers who may implement unethical practices and take advantage of authors. In particular, some Open Access publishers abuse the Open Access Gold Model in which the author pays for the publication of their article or book/book chapter.

These publishers tend to campaign aggressively for academics to submit thier research, charge authors high fees (often hidden at first) but do not offer sufficient quality control or a thorough editorial process.  Many of them accept papers without an appropriate editorial board or peer review process, often including works with poor writing and low-quality content.

These sub-standard research outputs can reflect poorly upon high quality research papers that are displayed alongside them. They can also offer scholars incorrect or misleading information upon which they might build their research, weakening scholarly communication and research as a whole.

How to assess an Open Access journal or Open Access book publisher

Before publishing an Open Access book or book chapter, or in an Open Access journal, there are certain factors that should be considered to determine whether the publisher/journal adheres to ethical publishing standards. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Did the publisher send you an un-solicited invitation to submit an article for publication?
  • Does the journal's or publisher's name sound very similar to a well-known or reputable journal or publisher?
  • Is the scope of the journal overly broad?
  • Are the credentials of the editorial staff provided?
  • Does the publisher promise an accelerated editorial process?
  • Is there minimal (or non-existent) peer review and/or copy-editing?
  • Are listed impact metrics or database indexing verifiably true?
  • Can you submit your article without first transferring your copyright?
  • Are you required to pay an article processing charge (APC) before your article is accepted? (Note that it is conventional practice for Open Access journals to charge APC's only upon acceptance.)
Resources to help you assess an Open Access journal or Open Access book publisher:
Getting help or finding out more
Updated: Thursday 4 June 2020
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