Examples of high-quality OA journals
Open Access Journals
In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative defined Open Access as the "world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature, completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds." Open Access journals (sometimes called "gold OA") do not charge subscription or access fees. By shifting the costs of viewing scholarship away from the reader they make it more likely that the works will be used as we intend: to be read and cited.
For authors, publishing in OA journals has several advantages, among them:
- OA publications on average get cited more. So if you want your work read by other scholars, publishing in an OA journal is, ceteris paribus, a good thing.
- OA publications are more accessible to non-scholars. An interested individual in French Glen doesn't have easy access to the tens of thousands of journals the UO purchases in hardcopy or licenses electronically, but does have easy access to the thousands of journals that are freely available on the web.
- In many cases, authors' funding agencies require that grant funded publications be released as open access and will pay for any additional author costs associated with open access publication.
- Gold OA offers the potential to reform scholarly communications by changing the economic model, shifting the costs from library budgets (no subscription costs inflating at exponential rates) to the producers or to institutions like granting agencies.
Examples of OA journals
Open Access journals are growing rapidly in popularity and influence. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists more than 7000 peer reviewed open access journals in a variety of fields. Other journals either have not yet been listed in DOAJ or fail to meet DOAJ's particular definitions of "open access."
Many commercial publishers now offer high quality Open Access journals in parallel with their traditional subscription-based journals. Some major OA publishers include the Public Library of Science (PLoS), Biomed Central, PeerJ, SpringerOpen, Sage Open, Wiley, and Hindawi. Numerous professional societies such as the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the Association for Computing Machinery have embraced open access for many of their publications.
UO Library subject specialists have assembled the following far-from-exhaustive list of example OA journals. It's meant to pique your interest and demonstrate the range of high-quality OA scholarly publications.
|Journal name||Subject Area||Notes|
|American Historical Review||History||provides gratis access to articles|
|Asian Ethnology||Anthropology, Folklore, EALL||publisher: Nanzan U|
|Biogeosciences||Geosciences||Biogeochemistry, paleobiology, astrobiology|
|BMC Molecular Biology||Chemistry||Biochem/mol bio|
|British Medical Journal||Medicine||OA to all research articles|
|Chemistry Central Journal||Chemistry||All Chemistry|
|Contemporary Aesthetics||Art||publisher: RISD|
|Current Science (India)||Science General|
|eHumanista||Romance Languages, History||Medieval and Early Modern Literatures and Cultures|
|Herpetological Conservation and Biology||Biology||published in Corvallis; spotlight in Chronicle of Higher Ed, 2011|
|Humanist Studies & the Digital Age||Literature, Digital Humanities||published by the University of Oregon Libraries|
|International Journal of Communication||Journalism & Communication||publisher: Annenberg/USC|
|Japanese Journal of Religious Studies||EALL, Religion||publisher: Nanzan U|
|Journal of Symbolic Logic||Math, Philosophy|
|LEMIR||Romance Languages||Literatura Española Medieval y Renacimiento|
|Monthly Review||Sociology, etc.||prestigious Socialist magazine (not strictly speaking a journal)|
|Nanoscale Research Letters||Chemistry, Physics||Nanotechnology, Materials Science|
|New Journal of Physics||Physics||General Physics; all subdisciplines; well-established high-impact journal|
|Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics||Geosciences||Geophysics|
|Nordicom Review||Journalism & Communication|
|Nucleic Acids Research||Chemistry||Molecular biol; genetics; well-established high-impact journal|
|PeerJ||Biological Sciences||Multi-disciplinary science with focus on bio/medical|
|PLoS One||Science General||Multi-disciplinary science with focus on bio/medical|
|PMC Biophysics||Physics||Biophysics; very new|
|PMC Physics A||Physics||HEP, cosmol, gravity|
|PMC Physics B||Physics||Condensed, atomic, molec & optical|
|Review of Biblical Literature||Religion|
|Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge||Communications|
The above list includes a selection of journals with publication policies ranging from "libre" open access for all articles to "gratis" (free, but restricted use rights) access to most articles. In some cases, e.g. PNAS, all journal articles are freely available on the web but only after an embargo period.
A growing trend is for traditional commercial journals to offer an option to authors, often labeled "author's choice," or "hybrid," where the author can purchase open access for a particular article. Other articles in the journal are typically available only in a subscription-based print edition or online for a per-article fee. For a partial list of such journals see for example
- Selective List of Open Access and Paid Access Fees (UC Berkeley)
- Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access (SHERPA/RoMEO)
Hybrid journals often impose usage restrictions limiting redistribution and re-use, and usually only selected articles representing a small portion of the journal are open access. Since author fees in such journals are often much higher than those in purely open-access journals, the number of articles available for open access in such venues appears to be quite limited, but often represents high-impact work.
Finding more OA journals
The great thing about open access journals is that they are free to read. No need to depend on a library to pay for a subscription. However, you still have to find the journal. Among the lists of open access journals are:
- Directory of Open Access Journals (Lund University)
- Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journals (U Colorado)
- SHERPA/RoMEO Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access
- Open Access Journals in the Field of Education (AERA SIG)
- Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)
Contact your library subject specialist to learn about more open access journals that publish in areas you're interested in.
 For a review of the literature on the OA citation advantage see for instance A. Ben Wagner, "Open Access Citation Advantage: An Annotated Bibliography." Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2010.
 A 2007 study found 428 scholarly societies publishing OA journals. See Peter Suber and Caroline Sutton, "Scholarly publishers with Open Access Journals." SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #115, November 2, 2007.