22 October 2014

Open Access Week: Option 2 for Making Your Work Open Access

A second option for making your work open access is to publish an article in a relevant OA journal ("gold OA"). The forced migration field has experienced a bit of a surge in scholarly OA journal publishing, so prospective authors have more choices now than even just a year or so ago.  I plan to make a partial list available to you by the end of the week. For now, try the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

But before you dive into a search for a suitable title, keep in mind the following:

1) Business Models: OA journals employ a variety of business models to cover their production costs, one of which involves charging a fee for an accepted article to be published (also referred to as an "Article Processing Charge," or APC).  Because the bill for the fee usually goes to the submitting author, this model has also become known as "author pays."  In reality, it is the author's funder or employer who ends up footing the bill! That said, of the journals listed in the a/m DOAJ, only about a third charge publication fees.

2) Quality: OA journals vary in quality, just like traditionally-published journals. But the relative ease of launching online journals and the lure of APCs have attracted some less-than-reputable publishers to the open access scene. So here are a few resources to help assess a journal's credentials:
- DOAJ (this article describes the process the directory went through recently to weed out so-called "predatory journals")
- Beall's List of Publishers/Journals (compiled based on this set of criteria)
- JournalGuide (this resource provides a "verified" status for reputable journals; more info is provided in this blog post)

3) Peer Review: Some funders will only provide support for research published in peer-reviewed OA journals. However, not all OA journals represented in the DOAJ or on my list are peer-reviewed. While good editors can still ensure adherence to high quality standards, the absence of peer review may prove to be a sticking point in some situations.

4) OA Spectrum: Some OA journals are more open than others.  As noted in the first post, the definition of open access refers to price and permission barriers.  Some journals remove price barriers (i.e., articles are free to read) but may retain permission barriers (e.g., articles are still copyrighted). Other journals remove price barriers and at least some permission barriers.  Two terms coined by Peter Suber to capture these distinctions are "gratis OA" for the former and "libre OA" for the latter.  (For an even more finely tuned measure of openness, refer to this chart.) Using Creative Commons licenses can help clarify how open a given work is.  (More on these in a subsequent post.)

- Browse for both OA journals and articles in those journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals; you can also filter search results by various fields including publication charges and licenses.
- Law reviews are very often gratis OA, but they are not well represented in the DOAJ. Another source is the Electronic Journals Library (select "Law" and tick "freely accessible" on the right). You can also browse my blog posts labeled "law reviews" for relevant full-text articles.
- If you receive an email inviting you to publish in an OA journal you are not familiar with, check Beall's List, DOAJ and/or JournalGuide to confirm its bona fides.

Tagged Events & Opportunities, Publications and Web Sites/Tools.

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