Finding Open Access Journals – Top Tips

By publishing in a fully open access journal (one that is not funded by subscriptions, does not charge for readers to access the content and usually uses the Creative Commons licenses), you can get maximum exposure for your work as everyone will be able to access your research.

If you are a staff member or student at the University of Reading, you can get the article processing charge (APC) paid for you via the University Library if you are publishing in a fully open access journal. You have to apply for funding before you submit your article and we’ll check that we have sufficient funds remaining in our University Open Access account and that the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

There are several tools that can help you find a suitable open access journal for your research.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Search DOAJ to find fully open access journals in your subject area. Journals awarded the DOAJ Seal of Approval have achieved a high level of openness, have committed to best practices and have adopted high publishing standards.

SCImago Journal Rankings

The SCImago Journal and Country Rank website is a freely available portal that helps you find journals by subject area and country. You can also opt to search for only open access journals using a filter on the search screen. The search is based on information from the Scopus database. In the search results you will see some metrics, such as the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and which SJR quartile the journal belongs to, and the country of publication.  By clicking on the name of the journal, you can find out more about the publisher, subject categories covered by the journal and some data on past citation history.

Screen shot of a sample search for an open access journal

Screen shot of a journal search on the SCImago Journal and Country Rank website


The Scopus database (accessible to University of Reading staff and students via an institutional subscription) has a useful journal finding tool that also lets you search for just open access journals in your subject area.






You can also use the Scopus Journal Analyzer tool to make some direct comparisons between journals, for example, what percentage of articles published in the journal are uncited.







Publisher websites

Many publishers also offer ways of finding just their open access journals, check out their webpages for more information. For example, the SpringerNature Journal Suggester and the Elsevier Journal Finder can be configured to only recommend open access titles.

Don’t forget to Think, Check, Submit

Before you submit your precious research output to any journal, open access or a traditional one, always follow the guidance from the Think, Check, Submit campaign to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable publisher/journal. There’s a handy video on the Think Check Submit website to guide you to a reputable publisher:




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