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Where to Publish: Open Access

This is designed to assist in determining where to publish, avoid predatory journals, and understand journal rankings as well as impact factors.

What is Open Access?

  • Definition: Open access is "Information content made freely and universally available via the Internet in easy to read format, usually because the publisher maintains online archives to which access is free or has deposited the information in a widely known open access repository". Open access is a new model of scholarly publishing developed to free researchers and libraries from the limitations imposed by excessive subscription price increases for peer-reviewed journals, particularly in the sciences and medicine. By breaking the monopoly of publishers over the distribution of scientific research, open access makes access to scientific information more equitable and has the added advantage of allowing the author to retain copyright" (Reitz, JM. Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science).
  • Green vs Gold Open Access Publishing: There are two major categories of open access: gold and green. Broadly speaking, gold open access refers to when an author publishes their article in an online open access journal. In contrast, green open access refers to when an author publishes their article in a conventional journal and then self-archives a copy in a freely accessible resource like an institutional repository, special archive, or website.
  • The Open Access Spectrum: The degree to which a journal is Open Access comes down to more than whether or not people must pay to read your article. 
    • How Open Is It? Open Access Spectrum, is a helpful guide that explains how reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights, automatic posting, and machine readability affect a journal's quality of open access. This guide was created by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Public Science of Library (PLoS), and Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). 
Pros & Cons of Open Access
  • The open access publishing environment is changing rapidly.  Depending on your field, aims, and circumstances, this option may or may not make sense for you.  Here are just a few pros and cons for deciding to publish with an open access journal.
  • Pros
    • Free access means you will have a wider audience. It also works the other way around. If more authors publish in open access journals, you will have more access to their research.
    • The author often retains copyright, which is not usually the case in traditional publishing
    • Open Access is a global initiative. This can expose you to culturally diverse opinions and practices.
  • Cons
    • Some Open Access journals charge an author fee to publish and fees will vary greatly.
    • You may have concerns about the quality control and authenticity of what is published in the journal if it is not a reputable Open Access publication.

(Adapted from the Duquesne University Gumberg Library:

Open Access Resources

Open Access Directory

  • Open Access Directory (OAD) wiki: thisis a great place to start learning about the Open Access (OA) community, resources that exist, an initiaives currently being undertaken. Find links to directories of journals, educational material, courses, and conversation about the status of OA. The OAD is hosted by the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and supervised by an independent editorial board.

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) 

  • OASPA is a trade association that was established in 2008 in order to represent the interests of Open Access (OA) journal publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines. It provides information, standards, and models, and is dedicated to advocacy, education, and promoting innovation

Prominent Open Access Publishers

Open Access Advocates/ Initiatives


NIH Open Access Mandate

  • Started in 2004, mandated in 2008 and increasingly enforced since 2014, the NIH Public Access Policy requires that 
    • "all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law."
  • The purpose of this mandate is to make research supported by NIH grants, (which means it is tax-payer funded research), freely available to read by any scientist or member of the public. 
  • You can read more about this policy put forth by the Division F Section 217 of PL 111-8 in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 on the National Institute of Health's website. 
  • We recommend you check out a detailed and comprehensive explanation of this policy by viewing National Insititute of Health website's FAQs about its mandate.

More Resources

Beall's List of Predatory Journals

  • Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver, who coined the term "predatory open access publishing", has written extensively about open access publishing and the risks of predatory publishers. In 2007, he started a list of suspected predatory journals.  It became controversial when some publishers contested their inclusion on the list.  It is no longer published but an archived version of Beall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishersis still available.  It may be worth consulting if you are undecided about a particular journa

Paying Author Fees

  • Open Access publishing discounts for FIU authors are available BioMed Central, Chemistry Central, SpringerOpen, MDPI, and IGI Global.  These initial discounts will be applied to author publishing/processing fees by the publisher prior to invoicing for author's fees.
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