Open Access publishing means that a researcher chooses to publish his/her article in an Open Access journal. These journals are available free of charge for everyone with an internet connection for reading, downloading and citing. Research results are available to everyone not just those who can afford to pay for subscriptions. With Open Access your article will be more visible and receive more citations which give it more impact.
To publish Open Access does not affect quality since the articles go through the same peer review process as articles in traditional scientific journals. One main difference is that the author retains Copyright; it is not transferred to the publisher.
Open Access journals were started as an alternative to the traditional journals. Costs for publishing are usually financed by article processing charge (APC), membership, support from research institutions and, to some extent, advertising. APC varies and can be between $US 1 000 to $US 3 000. It is possible to apply for means to cover the APC or you can include APC cost in your research grant application.
You can find Open Access journals via DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). Thousands of journals are listed there. Be observant and examine the publishers since there are some unreliable publishers. These publishers seem to be Open Access but in reality they sell expensive subscriptions to libraries or contact the researcher directly to get hold of the APC-money. You can read (in Swedish) about the unreliable publishers in the latest issue (15/11) of Universitetsläraren. In the article, Caroline Sutton, presents different criteria to help you recognize a serious OA publisher and a serious OA journal. Caroline Sutton is the chairman of OASPA, an international branch organization for OA-publishers. She means that at least the following information must be visible from the publisher’s or journal’s web site:
Clear information about the ownership, who is the owner, and in which country and in which country the organization is located.
Well documented peer review process (most important point)
Full names and name of home university of those in the editorial board.
Licensing conditions need to be clear and visible next to the article so that the reader can directly see what can be done with the article when found online
There should be a contact person whom can be contacted for possible complains and questions. (Universitetsläraren, 2011, 15/11)
A few other points to take into consideration are: is the invitation to write an article well written, which other authors have published in the journal and how well-spread are other articles and books from the publisher.
Both Lund University and Blekinge Institute of technology have informative web pages on gray zone Open Access publishers. If you have been contacted by a publisher you do not know or are uncertain of, do not hesitate to contact Library and learning resources.
Self-archiving is also a way to publish Open Access. This means that you make your peer reviewed article available online free of charge by using BADA. Self-archiving is also a way to meet research funders’ demands on Open Access. There are studies that say that self-archiving increases an article’s citations frequency. It is also good to know that 90 % of publishers allow, without any additional permission, for authors to self-archive in the repository of their home institution. It is the author’s last version that may be submitted to the repository, not the publisher’s version. There might be an embargo period which means that the article may be self-archived after a certain time period but all that is taken care of by BADA. If you want to read publishers’ policies visit Sherpa/Romeo.