Open access literature is literature that is digital, available online, free of charge and free of most restrictions on copyright and licensing. By removing the price barriers and permission barriers that often limit access to scholarly publications, open access publishing offers the potential to mitigate the crisis in scholarly communication and to ensure wider dissemination of academic research and knowledge at greatly reduced costs to scholars and institutions.
While most open access publishers are ethically run for the common good, there are a few open access publishers who exploit the author-pays model solely for the purpose of making a profit. Beall’s List of Predatory, Open-Access Journals outlines the top offenders to help you make an informed decision as to where to publish.
Jeffrey Beall is an academic librarian at Auraria Library, University of Colorado at Denver, who writes the Scholarly Open Access blog. He also publishes a list of predatory open access publishers, who he describes as “those that unprofessionally exploit the author-pays model of open-access publishing (Gold OA) for their own profit. Typically, these publishers spam professional email lists, broadly soliciting article submissions for the clear purpose of gaining additional income. Operating essentially as vanity presses, these publishers typically have a low article acceptance threshold, with a false-front or non-existent peer review process. Unlike professional publishing operations, whether subscription-based or ethically-sound open access, these predatory publishers add little value to scholarship, pay little attention to digital preservation, and operate using fly-by-night, unsustainable business models.”