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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.

Finding and Evaluating Journals

Think. Check. Submit

Think. Check. Submit



The 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.

Open Access Publishing Models

Open Access publishing enables the free, immediate, and online availability of research and scholarly products. Open Access journals have been successfully producing and disseminating high quality research for over a decade. The Directory of Open Access Journals currently lists over 11,000 vetted Open Access Journals.

There are different business models that support Open Access publishing.

  • Full Open Access journals make all of their content immediately openly available at the time of publication.  These journals do not operate on a traditional subscription model but instead levy Article Processing Charges (APCs) to cover publication costs. Note that not all Full Open Access journals impose APCs.
  • Hybrid Open Access journals are subscription-based journals which give authors the option to purchase immediate open access to their papers. Only those papers that have paid-APCs will be openly available at the time of publication. Hybrid journals are effectively paid twice for their Open Access content. APCs for both Full Open Access and Hybrid Open Access range between $500 and $5,000.
  • Embargoed Open Access journals are subscription-based journals that make their content openly available after a limited embargo period. In this model, new content is only available to subscribers, while older content is openly accessible. There are no APCs for embargoed content.  

publishing OA

Publishing Opportunities

Looking for an Open Access journal to publish in? Choose one that you read.  Use the resources on this page to help you select the right one for your research.

Predatory Publishing

Predatory Publishers are publishers that charge APCs for Open Access publishing without providing the editorial and administrative services associated with legitimate journals.  Predatory publishers engage in unethical or questionable practices to solicit and process content, such as:

  • Eliminating or automating peer review
  • Misrepresenting editorial boards and impact metrics
  • Not submitting content to major indexing and abstracting databases
  • Cloaking APCs until the article has been published
  • Harassing authors to submit manuscripts or submit payment.

Not all Open Access journals are predatory. Predatory publishers are an aggressive exception. Authors should evaluate each venue they consider for publication before submitting a manuscript. There are several resources to help authors distinguish an ethical publisher from an unethical one.

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.

See also this blog post from PLOS' Early Career Researcher Blog: Open Access Week 2017: It’s time to do something about predatory publishers

Please contact your UMMS librarians if you need assistance.

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 Guide


How Open Is it? Open Access Spectrum Guide


The HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum Guide identifies the core components of Open Access (OA) -- readers' rights, reuse rights, copyright, author posting, automatic posting, and machine readability -- and how they are implemented in journals.  Its aim is to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on journal policies.