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Open Access

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about open access and new models of scholarly publishing.

What Is Predatory Publishing?

While there are many high-quality, peer-reviewed open access publications, there are also open access publishers that engage in unethical practices. 

"Predatory publishers" is a phrase that describes opportunistic open access publishers that charge publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.  

Common tactics include:

  • Accepting articles with little or no peer review
  • Informing authors about article fees only after a paper is accepted
  • Aggressively soliciting for article submissions

Recommendations for Authors

Publishing in open access journals can have many benefits but authors should always research any potential publication venues to make sure they are reputable.  Consider the following criteria:

  • Have you heard of the journal before?
  • Have you read any articles in the journal?
  • Have any of your colleagues published articles in the journal?
  • Is the journal peer-reviewed?
  • Is the journal's standard fee schedule publicly accessible?
  • Do you recognize the members of the Editorial Board?
  • Is the journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?  DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Does the journal have policies and practices consistent with the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association Code of Conduct and Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing?
  • Is the journal indexed in an established and reputable database such as PubMed, Web of Science, or Scopus?
  • Does the journal have an impact factor?

The Open Access Journal Quality Indicators site maintained by Grand Valley State University has an excellent list of guidelines to help authors evaluate open access publications.

Please contact your UMMS librarians if you need assistance.

Think. Check. Submit

Think. Check. Submit



The new Think. Check. Submit website helps researchers choose the right journal for your research. Follow their check list to assess journals and make sure you choose trusted journals for your research.

High Quality Gene Regulation Journals which Do Not Charge Author Fees: a list

Vladimir B. Teif, owner of the Gene Regulation Info website, has compiled a tidy list of high quality gene regulation journals which do not charge Author Processing Fees for publication. 

Eigenfactor Index of Open Access Fees

Eigenfactor Index of Open Access Fees

The Eigenfactor Index of Open Access Fees is a helpful tool to identify a good value for publishing your work openly.  It is an interactive tool which assesses the "article influence" -- as indicated by journal prestige and readership -- provided by open access journals.  Click on Open Access Fees to get started.

How Open Is it? Open Access Spectrum Evaluation Tool


How Open Is it? Open Access Spectrum GuideOAS Evaluation Tool


The Open Access Spectrum Evaluation Tool evaluates the openness of journals according to the HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum Guide. Journals are scored on a 100-point scale, based on their policies regarding readers' rights, copyright, reuse, posting, and machine readability.