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Open Access and Scholarly Publishing

Find out about author rights, funder policies and the role of repositories in open access scholarly communication and publishing.

Open access journals

Open access journals

The content of Open access journals can be freely accessed by readers across the globe.  Some OA journals may also be available in hardcopy by subscription.

Many OA journals have a reputation for high quality content, for example:

Most OA journals allow authors to retain copyright.  For example, articles published by BioMedCentral, PLoS and Hindawi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. This allows anyone to download, reuse, reprint, distribute or copy articles from BioMed Central and PLoS journals, providing the original author and source are credited.

Identify quality Open Access journals and avoid Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishers are proliferating, so how can you tell if the journal in your sights is legitimate or predatory?

Some warning sign characteristics of ‘predatory’ open access journals: 

  • Sending of frequent emails to academics inviting them to submit articles to the journal
    • The email may contain dubious Impact Factor information 
  • Lack of a rigorous peer-review process
    • Some journals don’t even mention ‘peer review, they promote a very short ‘decision making‘ time frame, e.g. 1-2 weeks
  • The journal publishes an unusually large number of articles in each issue
  • The publication fee (Article Processing Charge) is unusually low, e.g. US $150
  • No single individual is identified as the journal editor, but there is a long list of editors named on the website
  • The publisher of the journal is not stated on the website
  • The journal/publisher website includes spelling and grammatical errors
  • The journal is not listed in standard periodical directories (eg Ulrichs) and not indexed by the major indexes (e.g. ProQuest, EBSCO, Scopus, or Web of Science)

It is highly recommended that each journal is carefully evaluated before an article is submitted. 

Use the Think, Check, Submit guidelines and the Evaluation Checklist below to avoid publishing with low quality journals.

Use of these checklists to ascertain journal quality together with the standards of open access publishing provided by associations such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) should help the evaluation process become second nature.

Identifying predatory or pseudo-journals by C. Laine and M. A. Winker, published in June 2017, provides a comprehensive discussion on the characteristics of predatory journals, the proliferation of predatory publishing and why it is flourishing.  It includes mention of Beall’s predatory journal criteria, but most importantly emphasizes that applying personal and professional qualitative checks is the most effective way to avoid being vulnerable to predatory publishers’ wiles.

If you would like further information on any particular open access publisher please contact the Manager, Scholarly Publications & Copyright.

Think. Check. Submit.

Think. Check. Submit. Remember this little mantra and visit the Think.Check.Submit website which has a checklist under each heading.

Are you submitting your research to a trusted journal?
Is it the right journal for your work?  Watch this short video.

More evaluation information and a checklist

If you decide to publish in an OA journal, it is important to carefully evaluate the scholarly credibility of both the publisher and the journal.

Choosing a journal in which to publish requires consideration of a number of factors including:

  • Journal quality: is it peer reviewed?
  • Is it indexed by Scopus or Web of Science?
  • What is the publisher's policy on Open Access?
  • What about obligations to the research funder?

Further information on journal evaluation is available on the COPE Prinicples of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing website, and the useful checklist available above.

Authors are encouraged to check Project SHERPA websites for publisher policies before signing publishing contracts. Information about journals is also available on Ulrichsweb - use the Advanced Search option to limit to open access journals.

More about Creative Commons

Creative Commons provide access to licensed media that you can legally share and reuse for free.

Creative Commons License: The copyright holder keeps copyright but allows people to copy and distribute copyrighted work provided they meet the stipulations in the license.


Other OA journal choices

Many universities publish Open Access journals under the 'Green' model of publishing.  Bond University has many examples of peer-reviewed OA journals exemplifying this model in the repository.  Explore this extensive list of Australian university OA journals and consider becoming a contributor.