You'll see two colors commonly mentioned in discussions of open access: green and gold.
Green open access consists of peer-reviewed articiles deposited in freely accesible digital repositories, whether subject or institutional. Examples of green open access include the IR@UF and arXiv.
Gold open access consists of journals that make all peer-reviewed articles freely available for online reading at or after publication, with no fee or registration required. Examples of gold open access include PLoS ONE and BMC Medicine.
Have you received an email soliciting manuscripts or offering an editorial board position from a publisher you have never heard of before? The journal may have a great sounding name and you may recognize some prominent names already listed on the editorial board.
Unfortunately, it may be from an unscrupulous publisher whose main goal is to publish as many papers as possible while exacting high publication charges (article processing fees) while providing minimal if any peer review and exposure. Some of the people on the editorial board may not even know they have been listed or may be trying unsuccessfully to have their name removed. The fact that manuscripts require publication fees may be buried in the fine print or communicated only after acceptance of the manuscript. There have even been reports of flawed manuscripts being published despite the author’s objections.
Unfortunately, a few disreputable OA publishers reinforce the persistent myth that all open access (OA) journals are low quality and have no peer review. In fact, rigorously peer reviewed OA journals with respectable journal impact factors now exist in many disciplines. If you have any questions about a publisher solicitation, feel free to contact your library subject specialist or the Scholarly Communications Librarian.
Additional Readings on Journal Quality:
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides a free online Open Access Journal Publishing Resource Index with information and documents to support the launch and operation of an open-access journal. Included in this resource are links to example documents for key planning elements, such as new journal prospectuses, bylaws, and sample editorial policies. We also recommend the Guide to Developing OA Journals by David Solomon. PLoS has also produced a white paper on Publishing Open Access Journals.
As part of the commitment to increasing open access to research, the UF Libraries are using Open Journal Systems (OJS) within the statewide implementation of Florida Online Journals (Florida OJ) to provide online hosting for academic journals for UF faculty. The OJS system has a highly configurable system for editorial workflows with features including:
From "Price doesn't always buy prestige in open access" - Nature News, Jan. 22. 2013
The graph above utilizes a new tool, called Cost Effectiveness for Open Access Journals It incorporates pricing and prestige information for 657 open-access journals indexed by Thomson Reuters, including 356 that do not charge any fees.The data are plotted to show a journal's Article Influence (AI) score against the fee it charges per article. The AI score is calculated by dividing the Eigenfactor Score of the journal by the number of articles in the journal, normalized so that the average journal has an AI equal to 1. Eigenfactor Scores are like impact factors in that they are based on citations, but they also take into account the source of the citations.
You can locate open access journals published in your field by searching the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The DOAJ classifies OA journals by subject category and can be searched at the article level. DOAJ also provides information on Creative Commons licensing policies and copyright.
There are many ways to make one's work open access when publishing an article:
Watch UF Graduate Student Corey Simon talk about his experiences publishing in an open access journal (Presented at UF Open Access Week 2011, Gainesville, Florida, October 26, 2011.)