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Open Access

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

Publish in OA Journals

Publishing your work in OA provides unrestricted access and reuse of your research outputs even without a subscription to journal packages. This form of publishing is also known as the Gold OA. Usually, an Article Processing Charge (APC) will be charged to authors when the paper gets accepted so that the research will be made available to readers and not just to subscribers. For Gold OA publications, copyright is usually retained by authors. Learn more from OA Copyright - Creative Commons licenses.

Types of OA journals:

Authors have the option to publish in

  • full OA journals, where all articles are in Gold OA (e.g. Scientific Reports, Nature Communications, and journals from PLoS, BMC); or
  • hybrid OA journals, where authors can choose to publish in the traditional way (without APC) or in Gold OA.

Most OA and hybrid OA journals charge APCs, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand US dollars. Generally, APCs are covered by institutions or funders. However, there are still many OA journals that publish OA articles without charge. Many of these journals are managed by institutions or academic associations. An example would be London Review of Education, published by UCL Press. To find more of such journals, check here

Alternative to Publishing OA:

Publishing OA is one form of making your research articles openly accessible. If the APCs are an issue, or if you would like to publish in specific journals that do not have OA options, authors can go OA via Green OA route involving self-archival. 

Waivers or Discounts on OA Publishing Fees (APC)

Some publishers offer a waiver or discount to PolyU authors who are paying APC to publish their work open access. The discount varies depending on the Library's (or University's) agreement with the publisher. Check the table below to learn more. 

Publishers that offer a discount on APC to PolyU Authors

Publisher Journals include APC Waiver or Discount How to apply

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

All journals with an OA option (i.e. Gold OA and Hybrid OA journals) 100% waived
for articles accepted within 2021-2023. 

Check the procedure here

IWA Publishing

All journals under Subscribe-to-Open (S2O) model
including Water, Science and Technology
100% waived Authors can submit articles through normal procedure. Make sure PolyU affiliation and email are used.

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

All journals with an OA option 15% discount Authors can submit articles through normal procedure. Make sure PolyU affiliation and email are used. Discount will be automatically applied.

BioMed Central (BMC), and SpringerOpen

* PolyU School of Nursing is a member of BMC and SpringerOpen.

All BMC journals and all SpringerOpen journals

A discount for authors of School of Nursing

Check these pages to learn details:


PolyU Library is a member library of JULAC, which is a partner of SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics).

All journals participating in SCOAP3 100% waived Check the author guidelines on the respective journal page

Journals that Publish OA Without Charge

Find other journals that publish OA without a charge

Over 11k OA journals publish articles without charging an APC. You can find these journals from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Try limiting by Subject area, Publisher, or Language to discover the journals that suit your need! As always, do consider the general criteria for journal selection even for OA journals. 

Be Aware of Predetory Journals

Many fake or predatory journals have emerged since the change in the publishing model. These journals publish articles as long as APC is paid, without giving a rigorous peer review process. As an author, you need to be cautious and avoid submitting your work to any of these journals. Publishing with such journals may ruin your research career.

Quick tools to help you identify potentially predatory journals:

  • Think. Check. Submit.
    A simple checklist to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research.
  • Beall's list
    A list of potential predatory OA journals and publishers compiled by a librarian. DO NOT submit to any journal or publisher listed here.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    The directory of open access, peer-reviewed journals. DO NOT submit to an OA journal that's not indexed in this directory.

Contact us if you need any assistance!

Here are some additional indicators to facilitate journal evaluation:

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)