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Open Access

Open Access 

With the spread of the Internet came the possibility of providing easier access to scholarly research. However, much of the information was still locked behind publisher pay walls. The Open Access movement is an attempt to provide free access to as much scholarly literature as possible. "Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions."  (Suber, 2012)

There are two types of Open Access:

Gold Standard

Articles published under gold standard open access are published by established academic publishers. Typically, authors or granting agencies pay the publishers to release accepted publications as open access. Publishing fees can sometimes be funded by the researcher's grant.

Green Standard

Articles published under green standard open access are typically made available by the authors on an institutional repository, university website, or personal website. TWU is moving towards establishing an institutional repository to facilitate the archiving of academic publications. Many granting agencies now require publicly funded research to be released as an open access document within a year of publication. See the Tri-Agency link below for an example of the requirements for Canadian Government-funded research.

Further information

Suber, P. (2012). Open access. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications

Open Access Explained! youtube 

Further Reading

Further Reading

Berger, M., & Cirasella, J. (2015). Beyond Beall’s List Better understanding predatory publishersCollege & Research Libraries News76(3), 132-135.

Beaubien, S., & Eckard, M. (2014). Addressing faculty publishing concerns with open access journal quality indicatorsJournal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication2(2), 8.

Butler, D. (2013). The dark side of publishingNature495(7442), 433-435.

Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Identifying and avoiding predatory publishers: a primer for researchers.pdf

Eger, T., Mertens, A., & Scheufen, M. (2021). Publication cultures and the citation impact of open accessManagerial and Decision Economics42(8), 1980-1998.

Gillis, Alex. (2017). Beware! Academics are getting reeled in by scam journals. University Affairs.

Kennedy MS. Predatory Publishing Is No JokeAm J Nurs. 2015;115(4):7 9

Mills, M. (2020). Global trends in open access publication and open dataJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics21(12), 4.

Pickler, R., Noyes, J., Perry, L., Roe, B., Watson, R., & Hayter, M. (2014). Authors and readers beware the dark side of Open AccessJournal of advanced nursing.

CRKN-SAGE Open Access Portal Guidelines

If you are publishing with Sage journals, they offer APCs (article processing charges) discount for publishing in their pure gold open access journals, under our CRKN consortium agreement. The APCs are waived for Sage's hybrid open access journals. See the document below for the CRKN-SAGE Open Access Portal guidelines, where you will see the detailed workflow process for authors who publish in Sage open access journals. If you have any questions regarding open access publishing with Sage journals, email Qinqin Zhang at the Library. 

Predatory Open Access Publishers

With the increase in open access publishing has come a corresponding increase in what University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall calls "predatory open access" publishers. These are "publishers" whose primary goal is to make money by charging unwary scholars to publish their research in online publications of dubious academic rigour. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), an organization that vets open access journals, is more diplomatic, preferring to call them "questionable" journals.

Recognizing Predatory Open Access

  • Unsolicited e-mails offering opportunities to publish in areas outside one's area of expertise.
  • Journals which publish articles from an unrealistically wide range of academic disciplines. One calls itself "Journal For All Subject" [sic] and offers to publish in 31 disciplines, including arts, commerce, clinical research, electronics, philosophy, law, etc.
  • Unrealistically short turn-around times for peer review - often as short as a couple of weeks.
  • Poorly designed websites with grammar and spelling errors.
  • Hidden charges for publication. Many reputable OA journals charge for publication, e.g., PLOS ONE, but they also provide rigorous peer review.
  • Vague descriptions of the peer review process, e.g., single blind review where the reviewer knows the author, but the identity of the reviewer is hidden. While this is not necessarily a fatal flaw, it does make it easy for unscrupulous publishers to use non-existent or unqualified reviewers who may do only perfunctory reviews.
  • Already published issues of journals contain low-quality articles. 
  • Indexed only by Google Scholar or Ulrich's.

Getting Help

If you have questions about the quality of a publisher, feel free to contact Qinqin Zhang or Bill Badke and we'll be glad to help.

Blacklist of Possibly Predatory OA Journals

In January 15, 2017, Beall's List was removed from the web, reportedly because of threats of litigation by the groups it targeted.

Beall's original list with additional updates was relaunched at This site offers useful explanations:

The DOAJ "whitelist" is still a valuable tool in determining the quality of an open access journal.

Whitelist from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)