You want to publish your work in an OA journal, but don’t know which one
How to fund your Open Access publication
Your collaborators/your supervisor might object to publishing in an open access journal

You want to publish your work in an OA journal, but don’t know which one

Problem: You want to publish your work in an OA journal, but don’t know which one

Solution: Talk to OA advocates in your subject area, browse DOAJ, think about the readership of each journal

Action: Publishing in an open access journal so that your article is immediately available from the official publisher website is a route that offers many advantages and is particularly popular in the biological, biochemical and biomedical sciences.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is the foremost listing of all OA journals out there. At the time of writing, it allows you to search across 10,000 different OA journals from all subject areas.

But just because a journal exists & its subject area seems relevant, should you publish there? No.

Before you even think of submitting your work to a journal (OA or otherwise) you MUST do some basic quality checks:

  • Read a selection of articles that have previously been published there
  • Have a look at who’s on the editorial board of the journal (Do you know who any of the editors are? Is their research relevant to your broad subject area?)
  • Check the journal has an ISSN and that the ISSN is validated
  • Ensure the journal issues all new articles ‘resolvable persistent identifiers’ such as DOI’s or Handles e.g. or (more is explained about these here by Martin Fenner). Without these articles are arguably less discoverable and less trackable.
  • Is the publisher a member of OASPA? Yes = good sign. No = tread carefully, if it’s a small society-run journal of good quality then it doesn’t matter too much that it’s not an OASPA member.
  • Check how effective is reviewing procedure. Nobody wants to wait one year to publish article. Check with colleges or on the internet what is average waiting time for respond.
  • If DOIs are used for papers, check the #altmetrics of a few papers with systems like and and check what people are saying (tweets, blogs) about those papers.
  • Check who is reading the journal. That’s a hard question, and partly covered by who published in it, but also whom are citing this journal. Is this target audience the people who you like to read your paper?
  • Check the list of papers you cite in your own paper, and see if there are suitable OA journals among those cited papers.

    Source: Finding a suitable OA journal – collaborative document

    How to fund your Open Access publication

    Problem: How to fund your Open Access publication

    Publishing Open Access can sometimes be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many strategies to make high quality Open Access publication in journals affordable to even the most impoverished researcher, which we’ll outline below.

    What you can do
  • Check if co-authors are willing to cover publication charges if there are any.
  • Publish in a no-cost OA journal. All these journals have an Impact Factor AND are free to publish-in: Journal of Biomedical Science, Norwegian Journal of Geology, Computational Linguistics, Electronic Journal of Differential Equations, Interactive CardioVascular and Thoracic Surgery (ICVTS), The Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, Annals of Family Medicine, Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, Acta Palaeontologia Polonica, etc..

    Most fully open access journals DO NOT CHARGE authors to publish in. According to DOAJ approximately 60% of OA journals have no article processing charges (APCs). People often confuse ‘gold OA publishing’ with ‘OA journals that charge APCs’ – these are not one and the same thing.

  • If the OA journal does ask for an APC, apply for a fee waiver, if eligible

    Journals are aware that some researchers do not have a means by which to pay. Therefore, they have established systems and eligibility criteria for those researchers in need, to apply for fee waivers.
    Fees can either be waived in their entirety, or a partial discount off the standard APC may be offered, depending on your eligibility criteria. If you can’t find their waiver/discount policy email the journal/publisher to ask about it. Typically, many publishers provide 100% fee waivers to authors from low-income countries.

  • Ask your department and librarians at your institution if they have funds to support OA publication

    Don’t struggle alone in silence, wondering how to fund an APC supported publication. Your research librarians will in most cases be delighted to help you find funds to support OA publications. Many institutions already have special arrangements with OA publishers (e.g. PeerJ’s institutional plans) to finance open access. There can also be department-level open access publishing agreements and ‘publication tokens’ available for use. At some institutions large stockpiles of OA publication funds remain unused – use them to your advantage!

  • Use your society membership discounts

    Some Open Access journals will reduce the APCs to society members. Contact your society representative and ask about this. Paying $50 in society membership can save you a few hundred on publication costs.

  • Take money out of your research grant.

    Research funder’s often recognise that paying for Open Access publication is a investment in increasing the impact of your work. You can put publication costs in your proposals, or retrospectively ask if this can be done.

    Source: Funding OA journal publication – collaborative document

    Your collaborators/your supervisor might object to publishing in an open access journal

    Problem: Your collaborators/your supervisor might object to publishing in an open access journal

    Solution: Try to find out why they object to OA; below you find a number of resources for tackling the most common myths about OA


  • Open access journals do not have impact: point to the open access citation advantage. Another interesting resource may be Open Access Success Stories
  • Open access journals are of lower quality: explain that many OA journals are regarded among the best in their field; quality is dependent on the editors, reviewers, and publishers, not the form of publishing
  • Open access publishing is expensive: see Finding the funding to publish
  • You may want to include your collaborators/your supervisor in a discussion with an OA mentor. If they know and respect the mentor, they may be persuaded more easily
  • Point to publications they read that are Open Access
  • Note that while there may be issues with tenure now in some people eyes, in several years they will be less and less
  • Engage your co-authors/PI early on the topic. Don’t leave it till the last minute.
  • Find your university’s policy on OA.
  • Point to large institutions (like Harvard) that all endorse OA.
  • Tell your PIs and other collaborators about some of the “bonuses” that many OA journals offer- for example, social shares, and tracking the full potential impact of the publication (when I showed my PI this in PLoS ONE he liked it so much that he said he would publish there again and he loved that he could keep tracking how many views there were).

    Source: Convincing your supervisor & collaborators – collaborative document

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