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Understanding Open Access

The purpose of this guide is to give VDOT employees a basic overview of "Open Access" journals (and other OA resources). This guide does not discuss "Open Data."

Locating OA Journals (Subcription Tools)

There are a growing number of pre-established research tools that can help researchers find Open Access journals to publish in. The tools described below can also be used to find Closed journals, however, all can only be accessed from institutions that have paid subscriptions fees required to use these tools. At this time none of the tools in this section are available through the VDOT Research Library, however, some are available to authorized patrons of universities including the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

  • Scopus  (requires a subscription for access)
    Scopus now allows you to browse journals and limit to Open Access journals. Scopus allows you to browse by subject, so you do not need to know a journal title while searching. Select "Display only Open Access journals" within the browse box.
  • Journal Citation Reports (requires a subscription for access)
    JCR by Thompson Reuters provides impact factor, ranking information, and 5-year trends for journals in the social sciences, science and technology. Select the box for "Open Access" and click submit. 
  • Ulrichsweb  (requires a subscription for access)
    This periodicals directory lets you search journals by title or ISSN. Ulrich's records provide data points such as ISSN, publisher, language, open access status, subject, abstracting & indexing coverage, full-text database coverage, tables of contents, and reviews written by librarians. Searching can be done by keywords. After your first search, you can refine by subject area and select Open Access as a key feature. 
  • Cabell's Directories (requires a subscription for access)
    This directory provides data on journals in selected fields. Provides JCR impact factor, acceptance rates, and similar information. Exclusive to Business, Computer Science, Education, Health, and Psychology. Use Advance Search to limit journals by subject area and type of Open Access: green, gold, hybrid. 

Locating OA Journals (Publicly Accessible Tools)

DOAJ and ROAD directories only include Open Access journals. You will not find Closed Access journals using these tools. OAS includes both Closed Access journals and Open Access journals. 

Tips for Finding the Right Open Access Journal

Important Note

Remember, sham journals, predatory publishers, and journals with low "impact" exist in both the Closed Access arena and the Open Access arena. Before publishing in any journal, take time to investigate both the journal and the editorial board. If you are new to Open Access publishing, or publishing in general, please consider discussing the journal with a trusted colleague or an experienced researcher in your field.

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