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Journals: Open Access Journals

This guide provides an introduction and brief overview of journals and academic publications.

What is an Open Access Journal?

What is an Open Access Journal? An Open Access journal is a journal that requires no subscription or institutional login for access. Access is free of charge. Articles found within an Open Access journal are digitally available for everyone to access. Some journals may offer hybrid access, where some articles or issues are openly available while others are not. Open Access journals have been growing in numbers and popularity in Canada and around the world.

In selecting any journal for publication, it is important to look for markers of credibility and good reputation. Open Access in and of itself is not an indicator of quality or lack of quality in a journal or publisher. In particular, consider factors such as:

  • Presence of peer review process and how this is done. Fast-tracking publishing without proper checks and edits by experts in the field has led to questions about the quality of disseminated research available online.
  • Fees. How and when are fees charged, and for what services? There are a range of Open Access funding models. Some rely on author fees or APC's (article processing charges) to replace subscription revenue, but most do not.

    If you are considering a journal that charges APCs, inquire with the Library or SRCA to see if there may be either a discount incidental to other licenses that the University has with the publisher, or a lower cost, good quality alternative that meets your needs.

For more information see the Library's guide The Right Place to Publish: Considerations in Choosing a Journal or Publisher.

Visit VIU Library's Open Access guide for more information, including Open Data, Open Access Databases, Open Access Publishing, Funder policies on Open Access, and Copyright & Licenses.

how to make your research open access (infographic)

Pros and Cons of Open Access Journals

No subscription fees

Greater access to research that can influence policy

Demonstrate benefit and accountability of grant- or publicly-funded research

Open access for researchers in developing countries

Greater online visibility and public readership

  Need to assess critically for legitimacy, quality, peer-review

  Variable funding models may mean sustainability concerns compared to traditional paid access