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Drexel Library

Open Access: Home

What is Open Access?

Open Access” is free, digital and immediate online availability of research articles and has relatively few or no restrictions. It usually refers to open access publishing, particularly of scholarly communication in academia. Open Access journals and other types of resources such as Open Data have now become integral part of scholarly communication and learning about them will help you make informative decision on where you can publish your scholarly work. Institutions usually have repositories where researchers can deposit their work online. For example, iDEA: Drexel E-Repository and Archives is a centralized virtual space to access unique digital resources produced by the Drexel community. Administered by the Drexel Libraries, iDEA is committed to providing permanent open access to the digital works of Drexel University.

Why should I learn about open access?

Open access journals and presses have become an established part of the scholarly communication landscape. Learning about OA will help you make informed choices about where to publish your work.

Directory of Open Access Journals

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed in DOAJ. All data is freely available.

Search: DOAJ

Directory of Open Access Repositories

OpenDOAR is the quality-assured global directory of academic open access repositories. Typically OpenDOAR lists publication repositories, as this is the basis for most repositories. However, OpenDOAR also lists other types, for example of images or data-sets, particularly where these have metadata or documentation sufficient to make the material re-usable.

Search: OpenDOAR 

How do I make my work open access?
  • Deposit your work in an online repository, such as Drexel's  iDEA: Drexel E-Repository and Archives.  this is called Green OA).  See 'Types of Open Access' section in this Library Guide.
  • Publish your work in an OA journal or with an OA press (this is called Gold OA).
  • Publish your work using a hybrid OA model, where specific articles in a subscription-based journal are made open access in exchange for a fee.

Open Access Resources

Benefits of Open Access

Different stakeholders in the system of scholarly communications can and will benefit from no restricted access to research and data:
  • Researchers as authors: immediate visibility for research output and thus increased visibility and usage of their results. Open Access may even lead to an increase of impact.
  • Researchers looking for information: access to literature everywhere, not only from a campus but also from any site with wifi access.
  • Funding agencies: increased return on investment (ROI), increased visibility.
  • Universities & research institutes: greater visibility, clearer management information.
  • Libraries: increased access for target audience, financially a more attractive model than the current subscription model.
  • Teachers & students: unrestricted access to material, enriched education, allowing equality of learning in poor as well as in rich nations.
  • Science: enhanced and accellerated research cycle.
  • Citizens & society: access to knowledge / access to the results of publicly funded research.
  • Enterprises: access to critical information.
  • Publishers: transparent business model, ultimate online article distribution, ultimate visibility for articles.

Source: Benefits of Open Access


Types of Open Acces

There are many types of open access, perhaps because it is such a young movement that it's still developing standards. That said, there are three basic types:

  • Green – refers to self-archiving generally of the pre or post-print in repositories
  • Gold – refers to articles in fully accessible open access journals
  • Hybrid – some times called Paid Open Access, refers to subscription journals with open access to individual articles usually when a fee is paid to the publisher or journal by the author, the author's organization, or the research funder. Some of the fees are quite expensive, up to $5000. Some universities or libraries have a pool of funding available for hybrid journal publications or sometimes funding is written into grant applications for open access in hybrid journals, though these are not common instances. Some examples of hybrid open access are: iOpenAccess by Taylor Francis, Online Open by Wiley, or Sage Open by Sage. For a full list visit Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access from SHERPA/RoMEO.

Though green open access generally refers to the post-print of an article, there are three basic version types that can be self archived in repositories:

  • Pre-Prints – The author's copy of article before it’s been reviewed by the publisher, or pre-reviewed
  • Post-Prints – The author's copy of article after it’s been reviewed and corrected, but before the publisher has formatted it for publication, or post-reviewed.
  • Publisher’s Version – The version that is formatted and appears in print or online.

If authors have signed a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA), publisher's policy will determine which version of an article can be archived in a repository. Most publishers allow some sort of green open access. Authors can check their CTA for this information. SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publisher copyright policies and self archiving information that authors can use to check which version they may be allowed to archive. Not all journals are in SHERPA/RoMEO and it isn't always current, so authors may also want to check the publisher's website as well.

SHERPA/RoMEO classifies publishers into colors for easy identification:

  • Green - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF
  • Blue - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of post-print or publisher's version/PDF
  • Yellow - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print
  • White - refers to publishers whose policies do not formally support archiving any version


Source: Open Access: Types of OA

Where to Publish

There are many discipline-specific as well as multi-disciplinary open access journals. Choose journals for publication carefully.

Learn about the five main components of the ACS Open Access Initiatives. Publish open access with a full menu of options from ACS, including CC-BY.  ACS AuthorChoice, ACS Editors' Choice, ACS Author Rewards,  ACS Central Science and ACS Omega.  

BioMed Central Ltd., an independent publisher in London, England, provides free access to biomedical research publications. These publications include biology and medicine journal articles, current reports, and meeting abstracts. BioMed Central offers information about current controlled trials, as well as topics in modern biology.

This is a searchable directory of open access journals across all disciplines.

Elsevier publishes many journals and scholarly works in various disciplines. This site provides a list of this publisher's open access journals.

This website lists open access journals in the field of media and communications research.

Knowledge Unlatched works with libraries and academic publishers to make selected books openly accessible. The model depends on libraries contributing to cover a publisher's costs on a book; when the cost-recovery goal is met, the book becomes open access. Knowledge Unlatched encourages authors to discuss this option with their publishers. See "How can I get my book published through Knowledge Unlatched?"

A network linking members of the Modern Language Association. "MLA Commons, in addition to supporting a wide range of informal blogs and discussion groups, offers a robust platform for more formal publications—both member-generated and those initiated by the association." See also "Developing New Book Projects on MLA Commons."

An "in-development feature of MediaCommons promoting the digital publication of texts in the field of media studies, ranging from article- to monograph-length.”

An "international, scholar-led open access publishing collective whose mission is to make leading works of contemporary critical thought available worldwide." The OHP network includes several openly accessible book series published by MPublishing at the University of Michigan, as well as a selective list of autonomously-produced open access journals in critical and cultural theory.

A high-profile initiative to establish a non-profit open access publisher for the humanities and social sciences. See this April 2014 CHE interview with Martin Paul Eve, Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, UK and co-founder of the Open Library of Humanities.

An off-shoot of PLoS, PeerJ is a new open access journal in the biological and medical sciences. PeerJ operates under a unique publishing fee model, which includes lifetime membership options.

PLoS publishes several well-established open access, peer-reviewed journals covering an array of disciplines in the sciences including PLOS Biology, PLOS One, and PLOS Pathogens.

From the Royal Society publishing groups comes this new open access, peer-reviewed journal publishing across the range of science and mathematics.

This is a list of open access journals published by Springer covering numerous disciplines and subject areas.

Taylor & Francis publishes many journals and scholarly works in various disciplines. This site provides a list of this publisher's open access journals.

Wiley publishes many journals and scholarly works in various disciplines. This site provides a list of this publisher's open access journals.

Subject Guide

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Predatory Publishers

List of Predatory Journals

This is a list of possibly Predatory Journals. The kernel for this list was extracted from the archive of Beall’s list at and the updated list at BEALL'S LIST OF PREDATORY JOURNALS AND PUBLISHERS. It will be updated as new information or suggested edits are submitted or found by the maintainers of this site.

Journals that publish work without proper peer review and which charge scholars sometimes huge fees to submit should not be allowed to share space with legitimate journals and publishers, whether open access or not. These journals and publishers cheapen intellectual work by misleading scholars, preying particularly early career researchers trying to gain an edge. The credibility of scholars duped into publishing in these journals can be seriously damaged by doing so. It is important that as a scholarly community we help to protect each other from being taken advantage of in this way.

See: Basic Criteria

One example:

InTech Open Access Publisher – Mirror site

In 2015, Thomson Reuters started indexing InTech open access books in its ISI Web of Science Book Citation Index (BKCI). BKCI is a part of Web of Science Core Collection (WoSCC) together with SCI Expanded, SSCI, AHCI and other databases. Intech Open Access Publisher appears on the list of Predatory Journals.

How to Protect Yourself from Predatory Publishers and Other Open Access FAQs

Although open access has its bad players and opportunists, the quality indicators you would look for in a traditional journal also apply to open access publishing. Keeping an eye out for these will keep you safe in your publishing journey. Look for reputable publishers, clearly stated peer review and ethical policies, transparent peer review, and a reputable (and verifiable) editorial board. Check well-known indexing services and follow their links to journal websites to avoid mimics. A little knowledge will go a long way towards providing the confidence you need to successfully navigate the open access environment.


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