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Quality Assessment and Open Access Journals: Home

If you are interested in evaluating journal quality, especially open-access journals, this guide is for you. 

Considerations of Publishing in an Open Access Journal or Book

Learn more about Open Access Publishing. SPARC Open Access Resources, Open Access Directory (OAD), Open Access Bibliography, Open Access by Peter Suber, Open Access: What You Need to Know Now by Walt Crawford, Open Access in the Humanities; P. Martin Eve. Ask your Subject Librarian or the Open Publishing Librarian

Motivations for publishing via Open Access

Open Access lowers price and permission barriers between you, the author, and your readers. This enables broader audiences (researchers, teachers, & general public) who are otherwise unable to access publications to read. There are studies demonstrating that OA literature receives more citations.

Meeting the Standards of Quality: the Publication and Publisher

Quality varies from journal to journal & book to book.  There are ways to evaluate quality of any publication, whether or not it is OA. Specific to Open Access, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) considers quality in  inclusion standard. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) has a code of conduct, best practices, and membership criteria for publishers.

Ask your subject librarian or the Open Publishing Librarian. If the publication is indexed in Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, DOAJ, DOAB, or other major index this signifies high quality because it will be reviewed critically.  Google Scholar is free & comprehensive but criteria for inclusion is unknown. 

Considerations for Author Rights, Self-Archiving, and Teaching and Instruction

Metrics such as the H-Index, impact factor, SNIP, SJR, Twitter metrics, and Eigenfactor help inform. If a new journal, look  at  the publisher. Altmetrics & standard metrics assist for a broad comparison of scholarly &  research impact. The editorial board & authors are other indicators.

Other Considerations, Factors, and Indicators 

Ask: How is the journal  abstracted and indexed? Is it archived & preserved? Are there clear submission, & copyright/author guidelines? Does the journal allow authors to keep their own copyright? Can your work be self-archived in an institutional repository and used for teaching?

Portico & LOCKSS are common archiving services. Creative Commons licenses & the SPARC author addenda will help  authors keep their rights. Check Sherpa/Romeo for guidance. Contact the publisher if unclear, learn more about Creative Commons & author addenda.  Ask your colleagues, community, advisors, and your librarians as well.


Inspiration for this from Chris Erdmann and William Jacobs, the Guide to Open Access for Perplexed Researchers. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.