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Choosing Where To Publish Your Research: Open Access

This guide discusses factors that researchers should consider when evaluating journals and choosing where to submit their research products

Open Access Publishing

Visibility is an essential consideration when deciding where to publish your paper, as it can increase the audience and impact of your study. Consequently, open access is a subject that must be considered in these discussions. Providing open access to your work can have significant benefits in terms of your visibility as an academic, as it makes your paper available to fellow researchers based anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

It is crucial to keep in mind that publishing in an open access journal IS NOT the only way to provide open access to your work. Many subscription journals give their authors permission to post their work in open access platforms such as institutional repositories, subject repositories, or even your personal webpage. Therefore, you can obtain the prestige of publishing in a high-impact subscription journal while also reaping the benefits of posting your paper in an open online repository. This can widen your readership significantly and increase your chances of being cited.

In this section, we provide some important information about open access which can help you maximize the visibility of your paper. In addition to discussing how to find a good open access journal for your manuscript, we also talk about making use of other open access options that can be very beneficial to you. 

To learn more about open access publishing, visit UPRM Library's Open Access online guide.  

We also highly recommend that you view the "Author Rights" section of this guide, which explains how to use the online tool Sherpa Romeo. You can use this tool to identify all of the dissemination options available to you if you publish in a given journal.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) gives online access to the content of open journals in a broad range of academic fields. DOAJ also provides important information about these journals that can help inform your decision if you are interested in submitting your manuscript to one of them. Some of the information provided is:

  • Journal aims and subject scope
  • Instructions for authors
  • Editorial process information
  • Publication fees
  • Licenses used

To access DOAJ, visit

To see a brief slide presentation about how to find information about open access journals using DOAJ, click here or on the image below.

Myths About Open Access

There are many myths surrounding open access publishing. Although a lot of them have become dispelled with time, these are a few you may still hear occasionally.

Open access journals are not peer-reviewed.

There is a large amount of open access journals that follow an editorial process that includes peer review. In fact, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) only includes peer-reviewed open access publications.

Open access journals always have publication fees that authors must cover.

There are plenty of open access journals that do not charge publication fees. Many do have article processing charges, but so do many subscription journals. This type of fee is not a characteristic exclusive to open access journals.

Open access journals lack quality and prestige.

Some open access journals are among the most prestigious in their discipline. Examples are Materials Today, Big Data and Society, Journal of Nutritional Science, Protein and Cell, and Journal of High Energy Physics

The only way to give open access to your publications is by publishing in an open access journal.

Most subscription journals give their authors options to grant open access to their articles through other platforms, such as repositories or personal web pages. See more about this topic in the box on the right, titled Green Open Access.

Green Open Access

Authors will try to publish their work in the most prestigious journal they can. This is very understandable, as the benefits of publishing in a high-impact journal can be extremely significant for the author's academic career. Publishing articles in top journals can lead to obtaining promotions, research grants, and other professional opportunities.

There is a belief that if you publish your article in a prestigious subscription journal, you are not allowed to post the work in other platforms to increase its visibility. In the majority of cases, this is not true. Most publishers grant authors who publish in their subscription journals permission to also deposit their work in open access platforms. This is known as green open access. Being aware of green open access options can significantly increase the visibility of your research work.

Peter Suber, a scholar who is a steadfast proponent of open access in scholarly communications and who has written extensively on the subject, stated the following in a 2010 article:  

Most authors will choose prestige over OA if they have to choose. Fortunately, they rarely have to choose. Unfortunately, few of them know that they rarely have to choose.” *

When you publish an article, it is very important to be aware of all the opportunities for dissemination that are available to you. Leveraging these opportunities can lead to many more people being able to read (and possibly cite) your paper. The conditions for further dissemination will be specific for each journal, and some publishers are more restrictive than others. For example, in some cases an embargo period may be required. However, it is rare for a publisher not to offer any open access options.

Sherpa Romeo

We encourage you to learn how to use the Sherpa Romeo website. This site allows you to see what dissemination options will be available to you if you publish your article in a given journal. To learn about this website, you can visit the "Author Rights" section of this guide and look for the "Sherpa Romeo" box.


*Interested in the Peter Suber article cited here? Below is the reference with the link. And yes, it is open access. :)

Suber, P. (2010). Thoughts on prestige, quality, and open access. Logos, 21(1-2), 115-128.