October 20-26, 2014 was Open Access Week, a global effort, now in its eighth year, to promote the free, immediate, online access to scholarly knowledge. Open Access is the practice of making published scholarly research available online for free. To further this end, there are many open access journals in existence to which authors could consider submitting their work.
Authors can participate in open access by either submitting their work to an open access repository (known as the “green” path to open access) like PubMed Central, or by publishing in an open access journal (known as the “gold” path to open access). Some of these journals charge authors a fee in order to publish their work. Some of these fees can be outrageously high, as publishers try to take advantage of authors wanting to make their work available. The blog, Scholarly Open Access, has compiled a list of such so-called predatory publishers. A list of inclusion criteria is also provided.
Authors should be wary when submitting their work of publishers who, among other things:
- depend on author fees as their own means of operating and sustaining their journal;
- do not identify a formal editorial or review board;
- provide no academic information regarding the editor, editorial staff, and/or review board;
- are not listed in standard periodical directories or library databases;
- publish journals that are too broad – often done to attract a greater number of articles and thus bring in more revenue through author fees;
- do minimal or no copyediting.
Always thoroughly investigate any publisher and/or journal, along with their editorial process, scope, reviews, reputation, and impact factor, before deciding whether or not to submit your work.