Monday, May 12, 2008

Publish in open access journals.

I spend a good deal of my life reading and writing academic papers. In the olden days (which weren't so long ago), that meant going to the university library, sometimes to the basement or archives to search for particular volumes among shelves and shelves of books and journals. But school libraries can't carry all scholarly journals. Interlibrary loan eased the problem in the past, but the internet offers an opportunity to really solve the problem. Enter open access journals.

Open access journals are scholarly academic journals that are freely and openly available on the internet. The reader is able to access these journals without restrictions, though some some journals charge authors a fee to publish. These journals are developing the same levels of quality, prestige, and copyright protection as more traditional journals, and there is evidence to suggest that publishing in open access journals can increase impact and citation rates. Great news for any academic!

I recognize that not everyone has access to university libraries, and that not all libraries have the financial resources to grant access to expensive and numerous scholarly journals. For those reasons, I have decided to prioritize publication in open access journals. I like to think that my writing is of value to many kinds of people, not just those who have easy access to wealthy academic libraries. It really makes sense when you consider that taxpayers fund so much research. I'm not the only one who thinks so. In 2002, George Soros' Open Society Institute launched the Budapest Open Access Initiative to promote open access journals and publication.

With thousands of peer reviewed open access journals available around the world, there is bound to be a journal in your field and language. And if you see a need for a new open journal, here's a guide to starting your own open access journal.

So are you all jazzed about open access journals? Ready to publish? Check out these resources to find the publication and information you need:

* Directory of Open Access Journals aims to "increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content." They cover 3353 journals in all languages all over the world. Journals must use peer or editorial review.

* Open J-Gate is "an electronic gateway to global journal literature in open access domain." The database indexes "4375 open access journals, with links to full text at Publisher sites." They include both peer-reviewed journals and industry and professional journals in English.

* Open Access Directory is "a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large." It's a wiki so everyone can contribute.

So you can see, there are lots of ways to promote open access. Here's my first OA paper. I look forward to reading yours!
I Support the Public Library of Science

"Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them." - Suzanne Necker


Liz said...

Hey there, this is the open access peer-reviewed scientific and medical publisher and non profit PLoS (Public Library of Science) checking in and saying nice post, thanks for it. We'll put it on our Facebook group. Folks who want to spread the word about OA can get in touch with me for more downloads or visit

Karama said...

Thanks for stopping by, Liz! And for the link on Facebook. I remember when PLoS got started and am very excited about your success. Great work!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to So What Can I Do. Come back again soon!

Karama said...

And if you are really moved by OA, consider making a video for The Sparky Awards - a contest to promote open access to information. The deadline is November 30, 2008 and the winner gets $1000. Have fun!

Karama said...

Please vote for So What Can I Do for the 2009 Black Web Award for Most Original Blog. Visit and vote as often as you like before October 5, 2008. Anyone can vote and there's no need to register to do so. Thanks!

Karama said...

I spoke to Emory's beginning MD/PhD students about Open Access Publishing last month. Here are the readings:

Assigned Reading:
* Open access to the scientific journal literature, by Peter Sauber - or
* The Reality of Open Access Journal Articles, by Andy Gass and Helen Doyle -
* Open-Access Publication of Medical and Scientific Research, from PLoS -

Optional Reading/Additional Resources:
* Open Access Overview, by Peter Sauber -
* Articles and papers, from the Public Library of Science -