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Opening the Door for Open Access at Feinberg


By Karen Gutzman, Head, Research Assessment and Communications Librarian

Open access (OA) publishing can present a myriad of options and challenges to authors. Though many funders require research outputs to be made publicly accessible, there are authors who wish to publish OA regardless of any funder-related mandate. These authors have many decisions to make, including selecting appropriate OA journals and deciding which type of OA publishing suits their needs.  Ultimately, the decision to publish OA can be hindered by the cost of article processing fees (APCs).  

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Supporting Authors Publishing with OA in Mind:

NEW! Wiley Gold and Hybrid journals. Northwestern authors can publish at no cost in all Wiley hybrid journals, all Wiley gold journals, and all Hindawi journals from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2025. Corresponding authors must identify themselves as being affiliated with Northwestern University when submitting articles through the Wiley publishing workflow process. See full details here.  

​Northwestern Open Access Fund. Current Northwestern graduate or undergraduate students (or recent graduates up to six months post-graduation) who are corresponding authors publishing in gold OA journals may be eligible to use the Northwestern Open Access fund. See full details here. Please note: Beginning in September 2023, Northwestern Libraries will shift support for Open Access publishing to institutional-level initiatives. The final day to apply for individual APCs through the Open Access Fund is July 31, 2023. Read more in this announcement.

A quick way to find gold OA Journals is to search the Scopus Sources page by subject area using the filter to “Display only Open Access Journals” which filters to gold OA journals only. 

PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine. Northwestern authors will not incur APCs for accepted manuscripts in PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, thanks to an agreement between Northwestern and the PLoS Community Action Publishing program. To ensure the benefit, upon submitting a manuscript to either PLOS Biology or PLOS Medicine, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in the submission system, Editorial Manager. See full details here.

Additionally, there are discounts available on APCs for MDPI journals, PNAS, and BMJ Case Reports can be found on Galter Library’s Open Access Publishing Guide

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Finding and Evaluating OA Journals:

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Use DOAJ to find fully OA journals without fees by applying the “Without article processing charges” filter. Consider also using the “With a DOAJ Seal” filter. The DOAJ Seal is awarded to journals who specifically apply. Around 10% of journal in DOAJ have received the seal showing they meet best practices in OA publishing. Also, journals can be removed from the directory if they cease publishing, are no longer adhering to best practices, have not published enough articles in a calendar year, or for suspected editorial misconduct.  

Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources (ROAD). Use ROAD to find OA journals, books, conference proceedings, repositories and blogs by country, subject, title and more. ROAD is based off of the ISSN registry (among other data sources) which provides a unique identifier for journal publishers and others.

Finally, research funders may also support authors who choose to publish open access. NIH funded researchers may consider including the cost of publishing in their NIH grant applications, according to the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Some funders, like the NIH, allow APCs to be included in the initial grant budget, while others allow grantees to use remaining research funds for APCs, offer a dedicated open access fund, or distributes OA funds via block grant or overheads as part of an individual grant. Springer Nature has compiled a list of research funders and institutions worldwide that fund OA APCs to see if any of these options apply to your grant.  

If you have any questions or need assistance with finding OA journals, please contact your Galter liaison librarian.

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Updated: July 26, 2023