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Open Access Publishing: Where to Start

This guide accompanies the workshop "Open Access Publishing: Where Do I Start?" co-sponsored by the Grad College and University Library.

Step 2: Evaluate your options

The "Easy" Part

The first thing you need to do after identifying a journal in your discipline is to evaluate it to see if it fits your needs. This is the same process you might have gone through when publishing other works. 

Questions to ask: 

  1. Does the publication support items with the same general topic as your work? 
  2. Is the publication peer-reviewed
  3. Are there any fees associated with publication?

Look for the Information for Authors section on the publisher's website for information on these topics and more. 

Quick Check

If you're concerned that the journal you are considering might be a predatory publisher, here are some quick steps you can take: 

Avoiding Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishers have been around for a long time. There is no simple checklist for marking a publisher as "predatory" or not. Even traditional subscription journals should be carefully analyzed for quality. The best way to evaluate journals and avoid predatory publishers is to cultivate expectations of good services and products.

Example expectations:

  1. Clear, easy-to-find statements on peer-review procedures and polices are available. 
  2. Clear, easy-to-find statements on publishing charges can be found on the publisher's website. Example: PLOS: Publication Fees and Fee Assistance
  3. Clear, easy-to-find statements on which rights authors retain to their work (aka. copyright transfer) are available.
  4. The publisher has membership with the Committee on Publication Ethics and/or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.
  5. There is a digital archiving policy that demonstrates a commitment to keeping your work available. Example: Elsevier: Digital Archive

Visit our Understanding Predatory Publishers Library Guide for more information:

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Abbey Elder
150 Parks Library
Iowa State University