How to Find Open Access Journals to Publish Papers

The open access model has garnered support from scientific communities over the years.  OA allows members of the public to access the content without permission and paywall barriers. OA journals make it easier for scientists to share their data with a wide audience. Most research done in public institutions use government research grants. These public institutions also pay journal subscription fees to allow their staff and students to read these journals. This means that public funds help in supporting and accessing research. This is one of the reasons that governments and funding agencies support OA journals.

Types of Open Access Journals

The open access model has evolved into many variants.

  • Megajournals: In this model, journals offer full open access for a relatively low article processing fee and high volume. These megajournals have an objective peer review. They also tend to offer rapid publication. PLOS One, BMJ Open, and Scientific Reports are examples of megajournals.
  • Delayed: These journals involve an initial embargo period. The journal chooses a time duration during which all their articles are behind the paywall. After that period, the articles are freely accessible. Let us say you choose to publish in a delayed open access journal in January 2017. If the journal has a 12-month embargo period, your article will remain behind the paywall until January 2018. As of 2018, your article will become fully open access. Some OA journals also allow self-archiving or green open access. In this model, the published version of the article exists behind the paywall. The journal allows you to deposit a copy of your paper in a public place. This could be your website or your institution’s repository. The version can be pre-print or post-print based on journal copyright policies.
  • Hybrid: These open access journals still offer a subscription service. They give authors the option to make their articles open access. If you decide to publish your article as open access, you have to pay an article processing fee.
  • Flipped: These subscription-based journals have now changed into OA. For example, Nucleic Acid Research and Nature Communications.

Choosing an Open Access Journal

How do you find an open access journal to publish in? You can use following platforms to find OA journals:

  • DOAJ: You can find a list of open access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The DOAJ also makes it possible for you to access content in OA journals.
  • ROAD: You can also use ROAD (Director of Open Access Scholarly Resources). ROAD identifies open access resources which have been given ISSN numbers. The corresponding ISSN records are updated. ISSN records are matched with coverage lists provided by indexing databases, registries, and journal indicators. This process creates bibliographic records of open access content.
  • SciELO: The Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) is another option. It is a digital library of open access journals. SciELO is used for electronic publishing in developing countries. It was launched in Brazil in 1997. It hosts more than 1,161 OA journals and more than 500,000 open access articles.
  • Ulrich’s Knowledgebase: It has information on more than 300,000 periodicals. This list includes OA journals. Ulrich’s can be searched which makes discovery of open access journals easy. The database also includes links to full-text and other content.
  • BASE: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine is one of the most voluminous search engines especially for academic web resources available through open access.


Recently, Enago Academy launched Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) that aims at enabling research scholars to find open access journals relevant to their manuscript. OAJF uses a validated journal index provided by Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – the most trusted non-predatory open access journal directory in its search results, the tool displays vital journal details to the scholars including publisher details, peer review process, confidence index (indicates similarity between matching keywords in the published articles across all journals indexed by DOAJ), and publication speed. The dynamic platform also lets scholars filter search results based on preferences such as peer review process and approval of journals, among others.

You can use these online platforms to help you identify and narrow down your search for OA journals. Why not make your next publication open access? Have you tried any of the above or other platforms to help you in your search for OA journals? Do share with us by leaving a comment below!



  1. Nikola says

    What would you recommend to researchers with insufficient funds to pay for often high article processing fees (>1000 eur)? I think the solution should be paid reviewing, part of the fees should go to reviewers (or some ‘credit’ system), this work should not be entirely pro bono.

    1. Enago Academy says

      Hi Nikola,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us regarding your query. The following Enago Academy article will provide you with additional insights: https://www.enago.com/academy/what-is-the-real-cost-of-scientific-publishing/

      To address your question more specifically, let me highlight some of the relevant points:

      1. In the absence of a highly creditable third party source (having no tie-ups with publishing houses), it would indeed be difficult to get an accurate estimate of the actual costs associated with digital (open access) publishing.

      2. Because of the mounting pressure from researchers worldwide, many reputed open access publishers would eventually have to lower their article processing charges (at some point) or face stiff opposition/backlash.

      3. Meanwhile, as rightly pointed out in the above article, individual institutes, funding agencies, and/or governments could seriously consider providing author subsidies, specifically for open access publishing.

      4. Interestingly, a related article (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/should-academics-be-paid-for-peer-review) mentions that many journal reviewers consider reviewing as an academic service and generally do not expect to get paid for performing this task. However, the same article also mentions that US-based reviewers are mostly in favor of reviewer fees. In light of the current scenario, paying reviewers would in fact increase the APCs further. A related Enago Academy article (https://www.enago.com/academy/should-a-peer-reviewer-be-paid/) provides additional insights on this topic.

      5. According to the prevalent opinion, publishing houses are indeed overcharging manuscript authors to some extent. Some of these funds could be diverted to cover reviewer fees.

      In case you have further questions, please contact us via the Q&A Forum (https://www.enago.com/academy/qna/). Do you need help in identifying an appropriate open access journal for your publishing requirements? Please consider opting for Enago’s premium service (https://www.enago.com/publication-support-services/premium-package.htm).

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