Quality and open access

Quality of an academic journal is essential. However, the quality of open access journals is still often subject to discussion. On this page you will find tips&tricks to assess the quality of an open access journal.

Is this a good open access journal?

There are a number of websites which assess the quality of journals. Journals on the list below meet the strictest quality standards:

  • Directory of Open Access Journals

All journals which are part of the Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ, use peer review and in this way guarantee a good quality check. On this list you will find only full open access journals.

  • Web of Science (Thomson Reuters) and Scopus (Elsevier)

Web of Science and Scopus only show peer reviewed journals of sufficient quality, often with an impact factor. Many open access journals have not existed long enough to have an impact factor, but that does not mean that every open access journal  is without an impact factor (for instance PlosOne). To give open access journals a chance, alternative criteria are being developed which can be used to measure the quality of these journals.

  • Quality Open Access Market (QOAM)

QOAM aims at giving transparent information about quality combined with an Article Publication Charge (APC) that might be asked. The peer review process is an important criterium. By means of rating the articles researchers and libraries can judge the transparency of the websites of open access and hybrid journals.

Is this a questionable open access publisher?

In the last few years, numerous 'publishers' have sprung up which misuse the open access publishing model to make money. These 'publishers' ask for APCs without organising proper editorial services and peer review in return.

They can often be identified by aggressive marketing strategies and spam mails. Yet at first glance their journals may seem legitimate.  There are a few things you can do to separate the wheat from the chaff:

  • Can you find the articles from the journals in reliable databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals or a database in your own discipline?
  • Do you know editors of the journals and/or authors who have published in the journals? When in doubt, we advise you to contact them.
  • Is the publisher clear about peer review and the costs of open access?
  • Is there a registration number (ISSN) of the journal on the website?
  • Is the publisher or editor a member of COPE, Committee on Publication Ethics or do they follow its guidelines? (Please note: not all legitimate journals are members of COPE (yet)).

Any doubts or questions? Please send an email to library@uu.nl

More information about selecting the right journal to publish your article in can be found on http://thinkchecksubmit.org/