3.5 OA Journals

Open access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader "without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself"(Suber, 2013). Some are subsidized and some require payment by the authors or by someone on behalf of the authors. The payment is made toward processing of the articles. Sometimes these payments are made by institutionson behalf of the authors. Open access journals may be entirely OA or partially OA such as hybrid open access journals and delayed open access journals. Open access journals are deemed as equivalent to Gold Road and Self-Archiving is considered equivalent to Green Road. Wikipedia categories OA journals as:

  • Journals entirely open access 
  • Journals with research articles open access (hybrid open access journals) 
  • Journals with some research articles open access (hybrid open access journals)
  • Journals with some articles open access and the other delayed access
  • Journals with delayed open access (delayed open access journals) 
  • Journals permitting self-archiving of articles 


Fee-based open access journals require payment on behalf of the author. The money might come from the author but more often comes from the author's research grant or employer. Many of these open access journals referred as 'gold' OA, waive the publication or part of the fee. This is generally true for authors from less developed countries.

3.5.2No-fee based

No-fee open access journals use a variety of business models. As summarized by Peter Suber: "Some no-fee OA journals have direct or indirect subsidies from institutions like universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, hospitals, museums, learned societies, foundations, or government agencies. Some have revenue from a separate line of non-OA publications. Some have revenue from advertising, auxiliary services, membership dues, endowments, reprints, or a print or premium edition. Some rely, more than other journals, on volunteerism. Some undoubtedly use a combination of these means" (Suber, 2012).


Pioneers in open access article publishing are in the biomedical domain with journals like the BMJ (British Medical Journal), Journal of Medical Internet Research and Medscape, that made content freely accessible in the late 90s. BioMed Central published its first article in the year 2000. The Public Library of Science launched its first open access journal, PLOS Biology in 2003, with PLOS Medicine following in 2004, and PLOS ONE in 2006.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The DOAJ [www.doaj.org] is a web directory that lists open access journals and is maintained by Infrastructure Services for Open Access (IS4OA). Until January 2013, the DOAJ was maintained by Lund University. As of December 2013, the database contains 9804 journals from 124 countries, with an average of four journals being added each day in 2012. The aim of DOAJ is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact.

Journals for Free

Journals for Free is a directory of open access journals and/or journals with some kind of open access to their materials. Journals for free has now more than 11400 as of by December 2013. It includes all open access journals indexed in the most recognized reference databases such as PubMed, Scopus and ISI Master databases.


JURN is a search-engine dedicated to indexing free ‘open access’ e-journals in the arts and humanities, along with other relevant arts and scholarly publications offering free content.

African Journals OnLine

AJOL is an online service to provide access to African-published research and increase worldwide knowledge of indigenous scholarship. It is a non-profit organization based in South Africa. AJOL's Mission: "to increase online visibility, access and use of African-published research output in support of quality African research and higher education". AJOL provides free hosting for over 400 peer-reviewed journals from 30 African countries. AJOL's partner journals cover the full range of academic disciplines with particularly strong sections on health and agriculture. African Journals OnLine (AJOL) was initiated in May 1998 as a pilot project managed by the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publication (INASP). At its re-launch in August 2000, AJOL featured 50 English language African published journals in agricultural sciences, science and technology, health and social sciences. Journals are selected for inclusion in AJOL using the following criteria:

  • They are scholarly in content, and contain original research 
  • Their content is peer-reviewed and quality controlled 
  • They are able to provide all content for inclusion on AJOL (tables of contents, abstracts and full text) in electronic format (e.g. Word files and PDF's) 
  • They guarantee permission from the authors to allow AJOL to operate a document delivery (article download) service 
  • They are published within the African continent. Management of publishing strategy, business development and production operation are all run from an African country. 

Open Access Journals Search Engine

OAJSE service covers free, full text, quality controlled journals. The aim is to cover journals in all subjects that are published in English language. There are now 4,775 journals in the directory. All are searchable at article level.


BMJ is a weekly open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal. It is one of the world's oldest general medical journals and has been described as among the most prestigious British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association.

Journal of Medical Internet Research

The Journal of Medical Internet Research16 is a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal established in 1999 covering eHealth and healthcare in the Internet age. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2010 impact factor of 4.663. Its ranking is first out of 22 in the category Medical Informatics journals and 2nd among 71 journals in the category Health Care Sciences & Services.

BioMed Central (BMC)

BioMed Central17 (BMC) is a United Kingdom-based, for-profit scientific publisher specializing in open access journal publication. BioMed Central and its sister companies Chemistry Central and PhysMath Central publish over 200 scientific journals. Most BioMed Central journals are now published only online. BioMed Central describes itself as the first and largest open access science publisher. It is owned by Springer Science+Business Media.


PANDORA18, Australia's Web Archive was established by its National Library in 1996 and is a collection of historic online publications. Online publications and web sites are selected for inclusion in the collection with the purpose of providing long-term and persistent access to them. The PANDORA Archive is a selective collection of web publications and websites relating to Australia and Australians. It includes materials that document the cultural, social, political life and activities of the Australian community and intellectual and expressive activities of Australians.

PLOS Biology

PLOS Biology19 is an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal covering all aspects of biology. Publication began in October, 2001. It was the first journal of the Public Library of Science. All content in PLOS Biology is published under the Creative Commons "by-attribution" license. To fund the journal, the publication's business model requires that, in most cases, authors pay towards publication costs.

Hong Kong Journals Online

HKJO20 is a full-text image database providing access to selected academic and professional journals, both in English and Chinese, published in Hong Kong. Titles included in this database cover a wide range of disciplines including law, medicine and education. The University of Hong Kong Libraries, with a rich collection of Hong Kong journals, developed this database with the objectives of facilitating efficient information retrieval and preserving archival materials. Issues included in this database vary from journal to journal with the earliest going back to 1872 . Currently, more than 491,290 images from over 60 titles will be accessible on the database.

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 11:44 AM