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Journal Publication Outlets

Guidance on selecting the best journal to publish your research.

What is Open Access?

Open Access LogoOpen Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.1 While OA primarily pertains to research articles, and therefore scholarly journals, open values and policies are similarly applicable to research data, software, educational resources (OER), and other outputs developed in the pursuit of knowledge and education.

Open Access status can refer to the article level or the journal level. Journals that make all of their content open by default are genuine OA titles. Other journal titles or publishers have subscription-based models by default, but they allow authors the option of making their articles open (usually by paying a fee). These are typically referred to as hybrid journals.

There are additional labels that you may encounter which describe the openness of a journal using various colors (green, gold, platinum, etc.).2 Most of these labels are not used consistently and can cause unnecessary confusion for authors and readers alike. It is best to review a journal's OA policies first-hand rather than rely on one of these designations when deciding where to publish. The most consistently used label is "Green Open Access," which refers to the right of an author to deposit a copy of their manuscript or article in an open repository (a.k.a. self-archiving).

  1. SPARC. (n.d.). Open Access.
  2. IGI Global Open Access Division. (2021, August 27). A guide to understanding the colors of Open Access.

Why Choose Open Access?

Benefits of Open Access Image by Kingsley and Brown

Benefits of open access include:

  • Practitioners can apply your findings
  • Higher citation rates
  • Your research can influence policy
  • The public can access your findings
  • Compliant with grant rules
  • Taxpayers get value for money
  • Researchers in developing countries can see your work
  • More exposure for your work


To learn more about open access, visit our Open Access guide or the Making Your Work Open page of our Copyright for Authors & Creators guide.

Finding OA Publication Opportunities

DOAJ LogoDirectory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) 

DOAJ is a respected resource for identifying open access journals. To be included in this directory, a journal must be fully open access, be peer reviewed, and have clear and transparent terms describing their licensing, copyright, and author charges policies.


Sherpa Romeo LogoSherpa Romeo

Sherpa Romeo can be used to identify whether an author is allowed to put a copy of their published article into an open repository. It gives a summary of publishers' open access archiving conditions for individual journals.

There are both commercial and non-profit publishers that are fully open access. Listed below are a few of the more common organizations. Those listed are members of both COPE and OASPA, and their titles are listed in DOAJ.

  • F1000Research - F1000Research is a multidisciplinary open research publishing platform that aims to publish a variety of research outputs while limiting editorial bias through an innovative model. F1000 began as an independent project and joined with Taylor & Francis Group in 2020.
  • Frontiers - Frontiers is an open science publisher whose titles focus on health and STEM disciplines. In 2013, Nature Publishing Group acquired a majority stake in Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Hindawi - Hindawi has been a completely open access publisher since 2007 and publishes hundreds of journals primarily in STEM disciplines. Hindawi was purchased in 2021 by John Wiley & Sons.
  • MDPI - MDPI is the largest open access publisher with nearly 400 journals. It has the mission to foster open scientific exchange in all forms, across all disciplines.
  • PLOS - PLOS is a non-profit open access publisher of journals in science and medicine. Their values include unrestricted access to research, open data sharing, transparency in peer review, and an open community approach to science assessment.

Traditional Publishers Offering Full and Hybrid OA Options

It is now common for most publishers to offer open access options. Below are some links to publisher webpages that highlight their fully open access titles and/or their other open access options.

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“Types of OA Publishers” by Annie Johnson is licensed under CC BY 4.0.