Intro to Scholarly Publishing

Library of the Health Sciences

What is Open Access?

Open access materials are free of any copyright

  • In academic circles, "open access materials" most often means open access journal articles, though the phrase can refer to any kind of intellectual work.


  • Because open access journals do not follow the traditional funding model, open access journals are often funded by fees charged to authors.

“The largest open access publishers, BioMed Central and PLoS, charge $1,350-2,250 per article in most cases”. However, UND is a supporter of BioMed Central, and so UND faculty receive a 15% discount (ask your librarian about this discount).


  •  Some OA journals are reputable. Some are insufficiently rigorous. Some are deceptive.2. (see checklist below). 


  • MORE INFO:   

1. Van Noorden, Richard. (March 27 2013). “Open Access: The true cost of science publishing.” Nature.

2. Berger, Monica. (March 22-25 2017).  “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Predatory Publishing but were Afraid to Ask.” ACRL 2017: At the Helm: Leading Transformation.


Considering whether a journal is deceptive, or worthy of your trust?

Look for these red flags when considering whether a journal is deceptive* or worthy of your trust, and contact your librarian if you have any questions!


***NOTE: Some untrustworthy journals are willfully deceptive, while others are simply of lower quality. Further, many legitimate journals may lack the gloss of more established and well-known journals. It is important to be aware of the resource disparities operating within the journal publishing industry, and the significant infrastructural disadvantages at which less monied journals, particularly those in the Global South, operate. Less than stellar English is not always a meaningful indicator, and journals may lack an ISSN, indexing, or impact factor, and still be reputable and legitimate.


A suspicious email soliciting papers is a red flag signaling that a journal's main aim is to make a profit, rather than promote academic research. Look out for:

  • unprofessional language
  • flattery and bogus personalization
  • promises of fast peer review and fast publication

Does anything about the Journal or Publisher seem misleading?

  • journal name suspiciously similar to another prominent and respected journal in the field
  • lack of full contact information in email or on website
  • falsified location- Look up the listed address on Google Maps and see of the publisher is actually located there. Does it look like a reputable location where a publisher might be located?


Does the journal or publisher's website seem unprofessional?

  • typos, advertisements, and dead links or sections that are "under development"
  • lack of an "About" section
  • excessive or aggressive advertisements, no stated ad policy

Is important information about the journal or publisher unclear?

  • author fees are unclear
  • no clear instruction to authors
  • no clear statement explaining peer review process
  • lack of information about the ownership and/or management of a journal
  • lack of statement explaining the journal's business model
  • lack of clear stated policies on handling potential conflicts of interest or research misconduct
  • lack of a clearly stated publication schedule
  • lack of copyright and licensing information

Is the editorial board reputable?

  • are the members of the editorial board listed, with full contact information?
  • are the members of the editorial board qualified?
    • Feel free to contact editors and ask about their experience with the journal and publisher.

Are the articles published in previous issues high quality?

  • look out for a large number of published articles written by a small amount of people
  • evaluate the published articles
    • Contact past authors to ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
Is the journal searchable in major databases, such as PubMed and CINAHL? Contact your Librarian for help.
Look up the journal's impact metrics. Contact your Librarian for help.