Evaluating the Quality of Open Access Journals

Whether you publish open access or not, you will want to consider carefully where to publish your work. Part of selecting a journal is evaluating its quality and fit for the topic of your article.

How do I evaluate an open access journal?

You can evaluate an open access journal’s quality just as you would a subscription journal. Before you publish in an open access journal, you will want to visit the journal’s website and do some searching on the web to determine:

  • Whether fees are charged, and if so, clear information on those fees.
  • Whether the journal is clear about the type of peer review used.
  • Whether you recognize the editorial board members.  If so, do the web pages of the editorial board members list their affiliation with the journal?
  • Whether the journal is included in indexes you use often.
  • Whether the publisher is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA).

Are there tools or guides to help me evaluate open access journals?

Think. Check. Submit provides a check list and helpful questions to guide you when choosing a journal.

If you’re not sure where to find an open access journal, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a great place to start.  The DOAJ includes only open access journals which follow the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.   There are currently over 9,000 journals in DOAJ.

Is there someone at Emory who can help me?

Your subject librarian, health sciences informationist, or the Scholarly Communications Office team will be happy to help you find a journal that works for you!

Also, Emory Libraries offers an Open Access Publishing Fund to help faculty, students, and researchers publish in eligible open access journals when alternative funds are not available.