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Get Published: Choose Open Access journals

This guide is about how to publish in scholarly journals and is specially for new and emerging researchers.

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Select an Open Access journal for publishing

1. Choose an open access journal

2. Find information about a journal on its website:

  • Are there any documentation on mission statement, scope, policy, and submission requirements?
  • Does the journal website provide information about the publisher?
  • Are articles peer-reviewed? How does the journal handle the peer-review process?
  • Who are the editors and members of the editorial board?
  • What is the copyright agreement?
  • Do you need to pay for an article processing charge in order to publish your article?
  • What about the quality of articles in this journal?
  • Has the journal had an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)?
  • Is this journal registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals?
  • Is this journal a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association?
  • Is the journal a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?

2. Journal impact

Use the following key tools to find journal impact metrics, ranking, and to compare your targeted journal with others within the same discipline: 

3. Indexing

Check whether your chosen journal is indexed by following library databases or Google Scholar:

4. Do your own research

  • Ask around - Your colleagues may know the journal.
  • Check who have published in this journal - Well-known authors? Your colleagues or other researchers you known?

5. Think, Check, Submit checklist

The Think,Check, Submit website provides a checklist for assessing the credentials of a journal or publisher.

6. Find journals' policies on SHERPA

Find research funders' open access policies on the Sherpa Juliet website


There are some publishers acting unethically especially when it comes to OA journal publishing. The following common signs of predatory journals may help you identify these journals:

  • misleading metrics
  • hijacked version of other well published journals
  • fake editorial boards, or names and affiliations of the editorial board members are not presented clearly
  • claimed to be indexed by key databases or Directory of Open Access Journals when they are not
  • reproduce articles from other academic journals
  • charge APC fees to publish a manuscript in a short time, e.g. 2-4 weeks.
  • send spam emails to invite researchers to publish articles with their journals
  • unprofessional website, e.g. poor writing, with commercials advertisements, unclear location
  • a journal title may be "American journal of ...", but the location of the publisher is in an Asia country
  • some of these journals are published in a website that contains a large number of open access journals across a wide range of disciplines

You may like to read the following recent studies on the issues of the increasing number of predatory open access journals:

What do you do it you think a publisher is engaging in unethical practices?

COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics has some useful guides.

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Open Access

There are mainly two types of OA publications:

Green OA refers to research papers deposited in a digital archive/repository. There are two types of repositories:

  • An institutional repository (IR) is provided by a research institution. The repository at AUT is Tuwhera Research Outputs.
  • Discipline-specific repository. Well-known examples include arXiv for physics and mathematics and PubMed Central for biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

Gold OA  refers to peer reviewed articles published in online open access journals that are free to the public. Author or the author's institution is usually required to pay an article processing charge (APC) fee in order to publish articles in OA journals.

or a combination of the above

Hybrid OA: some subscription-based journals are "hybrid" with a portion of articles being open access and the rest of articles are available to subscribers only. Authors of accepted articles in the hybrid model are often required to pay an article processing charge (APC) fee.

Find publishers' APC fees on SHERPA RoMEO

You may find the following study on tracking article processing charges at the University of Canterbury an interesting read: 

Angelo, A., & Lund, P. (2014). An evolving business model for scholarly publishing: exploring the payment of article processing charges (APCs) to achieve open access. Retrieved from

Benefits of OA publishing:

  • Reach a more diverse audience and disadvantaged communities
  • Research shows that publishing via Green OA leads to increased rates of citation
  • OA enhances universities research profiles 
  • Publicly funded research should be made publicly accessible
  • Research funders will achieve better returns from their investment
  • Quicker turn-around time

Find more details on our Open Access guide

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