Find an OA Journal
There are 3 main types of journals:
- Open Access journals (also called gold journals) where all articles are Open Access. They are indexed in the DOAJ (see below)
- Subscription journals (they are not Open Access, but the green road is still available to freely disseminate an article published there)
- Hybrid journals, which include both subscriber-only and Open Access articles.
Any serious journal necessarily has operating costs that it must cover to ensure its sustainability. Some titles rely on income from their subscribers, others on income from their authors (hybrid journals and some gold journals), and still others on third-party sources (research funding agencies, institutions, learned societies, etc.). In all cases, the peer-reviewing process must be as rigorous as possible.
Directory of Open Access Journal
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a multidisciplinary database of quality (peer-reviewed) gold scientific journals. Hybrid journals are not included. This tool allows you to :
- search for journals by subject, publisher or using other criteria (whether or not publication fees are charged to authors, type of peer-review, etc.)
- access detailed information pages for each title: date of last update, last known amount of publication fees if any, available licences, link to instructions to authors, long-term preservation policy, etc.
- check whether a journal is gold (or hybrid), which is important because support for publication costs is not the same (see Funders Policies and Requirements)
The DOAJ regularly checks the journals indexed and removes those of unsatisfactory quality. The list of recently removed journals is public. However, this evaluation process takes time, whether it is to include a new journal or to check a suspicious journal. This is why newer journals, or those that have just moved to a 100% Open Access model, may not yet be included. Similarly, if you have doubts about a journal but it is listed in the DOAJ, remain vigilant and do not hesitate to ask them to re-evaluate this title. Also beware of dubious journal editors who seek to extract payments without providing the promised service in return.
Making a choice
Many criteria are taken into account when choosing a journal: readership, visibility, prestige, open access, etc. There are tools that, thanks to text-mining of the abstract you are invited to submit, will suggest potentially appropriate journals, traditional or Open Access, to publish your research. Some examples are :
- EndNote Manuscript Matcher (general)
- Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) (rather medicine-oriented)
Finally, other tools aim not to help you identify new journals, but to check whether the proposed journal is compatible with the Open Access requirements of your funder. Examples include Journal Checker Tool, PublishOpen or the swiss project OACT.
A note on the price
The pricing of subscriptions to scientific journals does not always follow the logic that "what is valuable is expensive, what is expensive is valuable". The quality of journals is not correlated with the cost of the subscription, and the same is true of the publication fees (APC) charged to authors by some journals.
There are many gold journals that do not charge authors for publication. These are called diamond (or platinum) journals. They finance the costs of their activity through other means, for example through the support of academic institutions or funders. They can be found in the DOAJ, where they make up two thirds of the journals listed. A list of Swiss journals has also been established and is available in OLOS.