Open access journals typically have the following characteristics:
- They are scholarly/ peer reviewed
- Utilize quality control mechanisms just like conventional journals
- Freely and openly available on the web
- No charge to readers
Authors can publish their work in a traditional open access journal, a hybrid open access journal, or a delayed open access journal.
Traditional Open Access Journals
- Journals established by digital commercial or nonprofit publishers for the sole purpose of publishing open access content
- Typically utilize a Creative Commons Attribution License for publishing
- Authors usually retain their copyright.
- Different funding strategies used to support the journal:
- Membership fees
- Author fees (money may come from the author or more likely the author's research grant)
- Can be waived in cases of financial hardship
- Subsidies from institutions such as universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, foundations, museums or government agencies
Ex: Journals published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Hybrid Open Access Journals
- Journals where only some of the articles are open access
- Open access status requires the payment of a publication fee/ processing fee to the publisher
- Definition of open access may vary according to publisher
Ex: Publishers offering hybrid open access include: Elsevier: Open Access Options; Oxford University Press: Oxford Open; SAGE Publications: SAGE Open; for a more extensive list of publishers visit SHERPA/RoMEO's page Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access
Delayed Open Access Journals
- Traditional subscription-based journal
- Provide open access or free access after the elapse of an embargo period following the initial date of publication
- Embargo periods vary from a few months to two or more years
- Journal subscription or individual article purchase required to view articles prior to the end of the embargo period
- Model adopted by many scholarly society journals
Examples of Delayed Access
Elsevier Delayed Access Journals: Elsevier hosts a small number of delayed open access journals. Currently all open their content to non-subscribers 12 months after initial publication.
Highwire Press Free Content: Highwire Press, operated by Stanford University, publishes a large number of journals for scholarly societies. The page above lists the journals with free content, and specifies the period for each journal after which back issues become open access.