What is an Open Access journal? Types, costs, pros, and cons. (2022)

Let’s first talk about the traditional publishing model. In this model the authors of a scientific paper can submit it to the journal and publish it for free; they don’t have to pay anything. So where does the journal make its money? In the traditional model the journal is making its money or its profit from subscription fees from individual subscribers, university libraries, or company libraries. When you publish using the traditional model, the journal then owns the copyright to that publication, an important consideration for some people. Do you want to have control of the copyright or do you want to hand that over to the journal?

(Video) open ACCESS: The Pros and Cons of Open Access Journals and Publications

There are some problems with this traditional publishing model. The first one is that not all universities can afford to subscribe to every journal. Thus, sometimes students, faculty, or staff don’t have ready access to the research articles that they need for their own research. In that case, someone will have to pay for access to that journal article. You may have tried to access an article and found that it is behind a paywall. Paying this fee is one way to get access. Another way is for a university library to request the article from other libraries, and they have to pay to do that. Either the scientist is going to pay or the scientist’s employer is going to pay to get access to that article.

A second problem with the traditional publishing model is for people that are not affiliated with any university. They can’t go to a university library and ask for access, so they have to pay out of pocket, or find some other way to get that article. Most scientific research is funded through grants from federal institutions like the NIH, the NSF, the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense. These funds are taxpayer dollars, yet with traditional publishing the taxpayers can’t see the results of the research that their money is funding, a problem for society.

(Video) What you need to know about Open Access Journals

The third problem of the traditional publishing model I’ve already brought up earlier, and that is the issue of copyright. When you sign over your copyright to the journal, you can’t freely distribute your article because you don’t own the copyright to it, even though you wrote it. You can’t just give the article to anybody that asks for it (legally) and you can’t legally publish it on your web page. Now there are some exceptions to this. Certain traditional publishers will let you distribute your article by PDF after an embargo period. Or they might allow you to archive a different version of the article, like a pre-publication version, for example.

People recognized these problems with the traditional publishing model, and the Open Access model originated to address some of these problems. Open Access means that anyone with an internet connection can download and read and distribute any of the publications in an Open Access journal. It is free for the readers. You don’t have to pay an access fee, the university library doesn’t have to pay an access fee, it’s free to you as a reader. In terms of copyright, typically the author retains the copyright when they publish with Open Access, because the articles are made available under a Creative Commons license, and so that license allows anyone to freely use that article in any way they want to, as long as they attribute the authors of that article, Also, because the authors retain the copyright, they can archive the article any way they want. And so self-archiving of the final version is allowed, as opposed to the traditional publishing model where self-archiving is usually not the final version, it’s usually a pre-publication version.

(Video) Pros and Cons of OA

But one of the big drawbacks of Open Access is that the authors have to pay to publish, in contrast to the traditional model where it was free for the authors to publish. In the Open Access model the authors have to pay to publish; there are some exceptions and we’ll get to that. The authors pay what is known as an APC, article processing charge, which is anywhere from typically $1000 US up to more than $10,000 US. On average, APCs are around $2,800 – $3,000 US in 2021. So, it’s pretty expensive. Where does this money come from? At certain universities, the department or the institution has some funds they set aside to pay for a certain number of Open Access publications. Alternatively, the authors might get the money from a grant that they have been awarded, or they find the money somewhere else. There may be times when the authors pay out of their pocket. A lot of Open Access publishers will give discounts up to 100% to authors in certain developing countries. So, if you’re in one of those countries check with your target journal and see if you can get a discount.

There are different types of Open Access. The first type is the one that I’ve been describing, the pay to publish model, also known as Gold Open Access. With Gold Open Access journals, authors have to pay to publish, but there are no subscription fees. The Gold Open Access journals are fully Open Access; every article published in them is Open Access. Another type of Open Access journal is the hybrid journal, where Open Access is optional. In the hybrid journals, you can publish using the traditional model where it’s free for you, but it’s not free for the readers, or you can publish using an Open Access model where the author pays and it is free for the readers. Another type of access called Green Open Access. Green Open Access doesn’t really depend on the journal’s business model; it means is that the article is put into a repository where anyone can access that article for free. The Open DOAR or the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories has a list of repositories.

(Video) Definition and Types of Open Access Journals

A fourth model of Open Access is called the Diamond model. Diamond Open Access journals are free for the readers, and they’re also free for the authors. The authors don’t have to pay, the readers don’t have to pay, who has to pay? Somebody has to pay, because there are costs associated with running a website with processing articles and publishing them, and maintaining all of that infrastructure. Diamond Open Access is paid for by donors. The donors might be institutions, like universities or foundations, or they might be individuals

Let’s talk about the positives and negatives of Open Access publishing as compared to traditional publishing. One of the positives is the articles are no cost for readers, and so Open Access journals typically have a higher citation rate than non-Open Access journals. It’s not a huge difference, but there is a difference. Another positive is that the people ultimately funding the research, the taxpayers of that country, have access to the results of the research. As for negatives of Open Access: it’s expensive for the authors. When I was a professor with my own research lab, there were times when I didn’t have grant money, but I needed to publish, so I had to decide whether to publish traditionally or find some funds in my budget by diverting them from research supplies into publishing fees. It was a hardship for my lab. Another negative is the other side of the coin of taxpayers having access to the research that they funded; now they have to pay for the publication fees, too. So, it’s actually going to be inflationary. As Open Access becomes more prominent and researchers are write Open Access fees into their grant proposals, the price is going to keep going up and up. A third negative of publishing Open Access: the free Diamond Open Access journals are not very well known and/or they have a low impact factor. Maybe that will change and Diamond Open Access will take off and the impact factors will increase. But for now, if impact factor is something that’s important to you the Diamond Open Access journal may not meet that need.

(Video) Part 3 - Pros and Cons of Open Access

Do you have additional thoughts or questions about Open Access? Leave a comment below! And check out the Grants and Publications YouTube channel.

(Video) What is an Open Access Journal? | Academic Publishing


What is cons of open access? ›

Predatory journals: the Open Access business model, where the author pays, is potentially an invitation for dubious publishers to accept more papers and provide less stringent review. This could lead to higher costs and a negative impact on overall quality.

What are the advantages of open access journals? ›

What advantages do you get with Open Access?
  • Visibility. The potential for more people to see and download your research. ...
  • Transparency. ...
  • Availability. ...
  • Societal benefits. ...
  • Interdisciplinary research. ...
  • Meet the the requirements of funding bodies. ...
  • Potential for more citations. ...
  • Collaboration partners.

How much does an open access journal Cost? ›

The authors pay what is known as an APC, article processing charge, which is anywhere from typically $1000 US up to more than $10,000 US. On average, APCs are around $2,800 – $3,000 US in 2021. So, it's pretty expensive.

What are pros and cons? ›

The pros and cons of something are its advantages and disadvantages, which you consider carefully so that you can make a sensible decision.

What are the advantages of pros and cons? ›

Weighing up pros and cons can speed up the decision-making process, improve your understanding of the situation, and help you avoid decision-making paralysis . Using a simple "pros" and "cons" list encourages you to approach your decision objectively, without letting your "gut feeling" impact your choice.

What is the problem with open access? ›

Exploitation by Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishers are individuals who take advantage of open access models strictly to charge publication fees. Even when predatory publishers mandate these charges on authors, they fail to include the peer-review, editorial, and proofreading services in their delivery.

What are the challenges with open access? ›

Open Access challenges
  • The need for researchers to maximise the dissemination and impact of their research;
  • The need for readers to have access to the full corpus of relevant research literature;
  • The possibility of creating a continuum of integrated scholarly information, from raw data to peer-reviewed publications;

What are the disadvantages of journal entry? ›

(iv) Lack of internal control:

Unlike other books of original entries like subsidiary books and cash book, journal does not facilitate the internal control, because in journal only transactions are recorded in chronological order.

Why do open access journals charge? ›

An open access journal will not only provide open access for your individual article, but will advance open access in your field. The fee you pay is helping to promote a better model for scholarly publishing. The main issue may be whether there is an appropriate open access journal for your article.

Is open access free of charge? ›

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

Is open access journals are paid? ›

Open access journals are freely available to any individual that has internet access. They provide free content on the internet and charge researchers or scholars for publishing their findings. On the other hand, paid journals charge readers a hefty fee to explore the content of the journal.

How do open access journals make money? ›

Basically, open access journals can be funded through author fees (article processing charges), by institutions, or by consortia.

Do you need a subscription for open access journals? ›

It is free of cost for the public to access open access journals. The larger a journal's audience, the more impact an article can have on its readers.

How much should a journal cost? ›

While some can write for hours at a time, researchers say that journaling for at least 15 minutes a day three to five times a week can significantly improve your physical and mental health.

What are pros and cons examples? ›

Example Sentences

There are pros and cons to having children. I'm weighing the pros and cons of moving to another state. The pros and cons of using a laptop for work are debatable. The pros and cons of taking a day off work are clear. There are pros and cons to every decision we make in life.

Which is negative pros or cons? ›

“Pro” generally demonstrates a favorable opinion, although as a prefix, it can also represent prior occurrences. We often use “pro” in the context of “pros and cons.” The opposite of “pro” is “con” or “anti,” meaning that you feel negative about an idea or do not support the argument (source).

What does pros stand for? ›

Personalized Recovery Oriented Services (PROS)

What is difference between pros and cons and advantages and disadvantages? ›

Yes, the two terms imply the same. 'Pros and cons' comes from Latin pro et contra meaning 'for and against'. It actually means 'the positive and negative aspects of an argument'. I would add that "advantages and disadvantages" is probably more formal that "pros and cons".

Why open access journals are not good? ›

Because many Open Access journals are relatively new, they tend to have lower Impact Factors while they build their article base. This means some researchers and readers refuse to publish in or consider Open Access journals because they question the quality of the published work.

What are the two types of open access? ›

Types of Open Access

Gold – publisher makes to articles in fully accessible on the journal website, under a creative commons or similar license. An APC is usually paid by the author (or other funder). Hybrid – a subscription journal where the publisher allows authors to pay to make individual articles open access.

What is the purpose of open access? ›

Open access (OA) means free access to information and unrestricted use of electronic resources for everyone. Any kind of digital content can be OA, from texts and data to software, audio, video, and multi-media.

Do open access journals have impact? ›

Where open access journals do have an Impact Factor, these may not necessarily be higher or lower than subscription journals in the same field. That's because the Impact Factor depends upon several complex aspects, such as the citation patterns of the subject area and type of articles published in the journal.

What is an open access good example? ›

Resources such as land, lakes for fishing, clean air, etc., are open access resources. The difference between public goods and open access resources is public goods are non-rival while open access resources are rival.

What are the pros and cons of keeping a journal? ›

Pros and Cons of Journaling
  • Allows you to see where your time/money go and make helpful changes. ...
  • Makes you become more mindful about what you eat. ...
  • Helps you think through important decisions. ...
  • Helps you work through difficult times in your life. ...
  • Creates record of your life you can look back on and see how far you have come.

Is open access a good thing? ›

Scientific research shows that publishing in open access leads to more citations and impact because it ensures the global visibility without barriers. Businesses also have widespread access to the most recent scientific ideas, on which they can build.

What is journal what are its advantages and limitations? ›

Journal: A journal is often referred to as Book of Prime Entry or the book of original entry. In this book transactions are recorded in their chronological order. The process of recording transaction in a journal is called as 'Journalisation'. The entry made in this book is called a 'journal entry'.

Who will pay the open access fee? ›

An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged to authors. Most commonly, it is involved in making a work available as open access (OA), in either a full OA journal or in a hybrid journal.

What is the difference between regular journal and open access journal? ›

What's the difference between publishing in open access journals and in non-open access journals? Journal articles which are open access are freely available on the Internet and openly accessible to everyone. That makes these articles more likely to be used and cited.

Are open access journals free to publish? ›

(Free to Publish and Free to Read)

Open Access is a standard term that simply means that the journal articles under open access will be available free to read, download and reuse as per license terms of the journal.

What is the difference between open access and free access? ›

Unlike open access articles, which are permanently available, a free access article may be freely available for only a set period of time. Free access articles will also not usually have a Creative Commons license allowing reuse.

Do authors benefit from open access? ›

But OA benefits authors as well as readers. Authors want access to readers at least as much as readers want access to authors. All authors want to cultivate a larger audience and greater impact.

Is it better to publish open access or subscription? ›

Open Access (OA) publications reduce permission requirements and eliminate price barriers for readers. OA allows access for researchers, teachers, journalists, policy makers and the general public without a subscription. Many studies demonstrate that OA literature receives more citations than subscription publications.

Which is better open access or subscription? ›

The pros of open access are increases in citation and usage. The con is it is chargeable. The pros and cons of subscription-based publication are the opposite. The number of citations is smaller in subscription-based publication, but subscription-based publication is free.

How much does a 10 page research paper cost? ›

' A 10-page paper can cost anywhere between $15 to $30 per page. The price depends on a number of factors like the complexity of the paper, the academic, and the amount of required research.

How much does it cost to submit a paper to a journal? ›

Submission fees.

Both subscription-based and open access journals may charge a fee (typically $50-125) at the time of manuscript submission to help to fund editorial and peer review administration. From an author's standpoint, these fees might deter submission due to the existence of many journals without such charges.

What are the different types of journaling? ›

Download the app now to get started for FREE!
  • Bullet Journal. One of the most popular journaling methods is the bullet journal. ...
  • Calendar Journaling. ...
  • Meditation Journaling. ...
  • Video Journaling. ...
  • Creative Journaling. ...
  • Travel Journaling. ...
  • Gratitude Journaling. ...
  • Food Journaling.
26 Jun 2021

Is it worth publishing in open access journals? ›

There are many benefits to publishing your scientific article in an open access journal. One of the most universally appreciated features of open access publishing is the increased visibility: as there is no barrier to accessing articles, more readers are able to find and read them.

Are open access journals good quality? ›

Open access and peer review

Good quality open access journals have a rigorous peer review process. This means that an article's quality, validity, and relevance has been assessed by independent peers within the field. Taylor & Francis journals are peer reviewed, and the same goes for all reputable publishers.

Are open access journals lower quality? ›

Myth: Open access journals are low quality and not peer reviewed. Fact: Both traditional subscription journals and open access journals should be evaluated for quality before manuscripts are submitted. Most open access journals are affiliated with academic institutions.

How do publishers make money with open access? ›

Book processing charge (BPC) / Open Access fee

A fee is charged by the publisher in order for the ebook to be made open access; usually all ebook formats will be open access. The fee is typically paid by the author's funder or institution.

What is difference between open access and paid journal? ›

Open access journals are freely available to any individual that has internet access. They provide free content on the internet and charge researchers or scholars for publishing their findings. On the other hand, paid journals charge readers a hefty fee to explore the content of the journal.

Are open access journals free? ›

All articles in open access journals which are published by Elsevier have undergone peer review and upon acceptance are immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download.

What is an open access journal example? ›

Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central. Hybrid journals offer authors the option of making their articles open access, for a fee. Hybrid journals are still fundamentally subscription journals with an open access option for individual articles.


1. Part 3 - Pros and Cons of Open Access
(Carnegie Mellon University Libraries)
2. Five Benefits of Open Access
(U of G Library)
3. Choosing Open Access Publishing: The Key Issues
(CIVICA The European University of Social Sciences)
4. Open Access Journal Editors
(Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY)
5. Subscription vs. Open Access Databases
(COCIS Media & Tech Lab)
6. RLUK22 | Open access publishing in the library

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