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Open Access

This guide provides information and resources in open access and scholarly publishing.

Publisher's and Funder's OA Policies

The SHERPA databases help you find out the funders' policies on OA publishing and archiving as well as publishers' policies on OA archiving.

Publishing in OA Journals

Publishing your work open access provides unrestricted access and reuse of your research outputs. Traditionally, readers pay for the access, though the payment is usually covered through library subscriptions. However, even the richest library is now facing the budget problem with the ever-increasing subscription costs (The Guardian, 2012). This is why OA comes in as it removes this price barrier. Some OA journals will ask authors to pay an APC to make their articles freely available online. The APC is usually be covered by institutions or funders.

There are two types of OA journals: (Pure) OA journals, and hybrid OA journals.

OA Journals Hybrid OA Journals

The journal only provides OA content. (Gold OA)

e.g., PLoS, BMC journals

The journal is a traditional, subscription-based journal, which provides an option for authors to pay extra to make article available on a Gold OA basis, or self-archive the article (Green OA) without paying extra but the article will become available after an embargo period. (What are Gold OA and Green OA? Check this table)

e.g., Springer Open AccessTaylor & Francis Open Access

Below lists the OA policies from major publishers. Some run both pure OA journals and hybrid OA journals. Some also offer Green OA option. 

Like traditional journals, OA journals also have good quality and bad quality ones. There is no single criterion that determines whether or not a journal is reputable and of good quality. The following table presents a list of both positive and negative indicators, which will guide you through this evaluation. Contact us if you need any assistance.

OA Journal Quality Indicators, adapted from Grand Valley State University Libraries.
  Positive Indicators X   Negative Indicators

►  Journal:

  • Scope - well-defined and clearly stated
  • Primary audience - researchers/practitioners
  • Editor, Editorial Board - recognized experts in the field
  • Background - affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic institution
  • Publishing fees (if any) - easily found on the journal website and clearly explained
  • Copyright policy - clearly indicate the rights for use and re-use of content at article level (e.g., Creative Commons CC-BY license)
  • Has an ISSN (e.g., 1234-5678)
  • Registered in UlrichsWeb, Global Serials Directory
  • Listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • Indexed by major subject databases

►  Articles published:

  • Within the scope of the journal and meet the standards of the discipline
  • Have DOIs (e.g., DOI:10.1006/abio.1996.0292)

►  Publisher:


  • Website - difficult to locate or identify
  • Scope absent or extremely vague
  • Editorial Board - real researchers but names are used without their knowledge
  • Instructions to authorsnot available
  • Indexing - falsely claim that the journal is indexed in prestigious professional indexes (e.g. SCIE, SSCI); misrepresent the Impact Factor of the journal
  • Submission fee - ask for submission fee and not refundable
  • Peer review - no peer-review, or unclearly stated
  • Contact information - absent, or using a commercial email domain (e.g.,

  Articles published:

  • Out of scope of the journal
  • Repeat lead authors in same issue


  • Office location - fake or misrepresent (e.g., headquarter in New York but eventually in Nigeria)
  • Direct marketing (i.e., spamming) or other unsolicited advertising
  • Negative reputation (check Beall's list of potential predatory OA journals and publishers)

►  Think. Check. Submit.


Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

►  Quality Open Access Market (QOAM)

QOAM is another tool to help you quickly check opinions on OA journals. It uses Base Score Card to score the transparency of a journal’s website with respect to four critical journal aspects: Editorial information, Peer review, Governance and Workflow. It also provides price information given by both the journal's website and the authors who published with the journal.

PolyU OA Membership

BioMed Central  |  SpringerOpen

PolyU School of Nursing is a member of BioMed Central (BMC) and SpringerOpen, both from Springer Nature. Staff and students of School of Nursing can enjoy a discount when publishing in BMC and SpringerOpen journals.


PolyU Library is one of the member libraries of JULAC, which is a partner of SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics). PolyU authors can publish in any SCOAP3 journals at no direct cost.