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Open Access Guide: Issues and Concerns

Quality Assurance

Doubt about quality and quality-control is one reason authors may be reluctant to publish in OA journals.

Peer review

  • The open access movement was founded on scholarly, peer reviewed content.
  • Most OA journals are peer reviewed.
  • The peer review process in OA journals has the same quality control as in traditional journals.
  • Many hybrid journals only take payment after manuscript has been accepted.
  • This avoids any perceived influence or conflict of interest.

Prestige & quality

  • Prestige and reputation build over time; most OA journals are relatively new.
  • A lack of prestige does not in itself preclude quality.
  • OA journals vary in quality in the same way as subscription-based journals.
  • The prestige of authors, editors and referees impact on journal quality.
  • Apply the same criteria to judge quality as when selecting from traditional publishers.

"Predatory" publishers

  • Some publishers may claim to produce scholarly, OA journals but in fact produce low-quality, profit-driven journals via unethical practices.
  • These journals take advantage of researchers’ need to publish.
  • Predatory publishers may scam publication fees and falsely claim that they provide peer-review.
  • Researchers need to be wary of low-quality in both open access and traditional publishers.

Courtesy of Curtin University Library

Citation Impact

The impact of making material accessible via open access is another point for consideration.

Journal Impact factors

  • Impact Factors vary in both traditional and OA journals.
  • As OA journals tend to be newer they may not have an Impact Factor.
  • Impact Factors also tend to be lower in newer journals.
  • Some OA journals are amongst the highest-ranked in their discipline e.g. PLoS Biology and PLoS Pathogens.

Maximise citation potential

  • Limiting to subscription-only access reduces the number of potential readers.
  • Making material available via open access may increase the number of citations.
  • The level of advantage may vary between disciplines.
  • Publishing in an open access journal, or depositing a copy into espace broadens the reach and potential impact of the publications.

Courtesy of Curtin University Library

What version to self-archive

What version to self-archive

  • Approximately 65% of publishers allow some form of self-archiving into a repository.
  • What can be made available, and where, will be dependent on the publisher and journal guidelines on re-use of copyright assignment.
  • Sometimes the published version of an article can be made open access, or a publisher may require a different version be used
  • There may be an embargo period between the time the article is published and when it can be made available via open access.
  • To determine the journal's open access policy, visit OAKList or SHERPA/RoMEO.

Courtesy of Curtin University Library

APA and Harvard Citation of Author Versions

From CDU Library Referencing Guide: APA

Reference type In-text examples Reference list example
submitted, before peer review
Barclay (pre-print) suggests that….. Barclay, L. (pre-print). Women and midwives: Position, problems and potential. Midwifery. Retrieved from 
Post –Print
accepted & peer reviewed - not yet published
(Turnbull, post-print)  Turnbull, B. (post-print). Scholarship and mentoring: An essential partnership? International Journal of Nursing Practice. Retrieved from 

From  CDU Library Referencing Guide: Harvard

Reference type In-text examples Reference list example
Journal articles:
pre-print (submitted, before peer review)
Barclay (2008) asserts ….. Barclay, L 2008, ‘Women and midwives: Position, problems and potential’, submitted to Midwifery, [pre-print], 
post-print (accepted & peer reviewed - not yet published) ...(Turnbull 2010)  Turnbull, B 2010, ‘Scholarship and mentoring: An essential partnership?’, International Journal of Nursing Practice, [post-print], 
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