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How to Find Open Access Resources

Information retrieval outside library resources

In addition to the information resources purchased by the library, there is also scientific material published openly on the Internet. If you cannot find a certain resource in the collections of the library, it is worth checking if there's an open access version available.

Even if you don't have access to the library resources, you can still search the openly available publications.

You may find the following publication types openly available:

  • articles in Open Access journals (Gold OA)
  • articles from subscription journals, of which the authors have deposited a free version in an open repository (Green OA)
  • single articles published openly in subscription journals (hybrid OA)
  • Open Access books
  • old publications not under copyright anymore (various digitizing projects of old resources)

Open access publishing can sometimes be delayed, ie. there can be an embargo. In these cases the article is first published in a subscription journal and only later openly.

Reliability of open access publications

As Open Access publishing has increased, so have the attempts to swindle. So-called predatory Open Access journals are journals which overcharge the researchers, or whose peer review practices don't meet the standards. Sometimes, information about the article processing charge may be communicated only after the article is ready to be published.

To estimate the reliability of the publisher you can use the following checklist:

  • does the publisher have full contact information, also an address?
  • is there information on who owns the publisher and on the country it operates in?
  • who belongs to the editorial staff of the journal and is there full affiliation information available for the members of the editorial staff?
  • is there information available on the article processing charges?
  • are the previous articles written by well known authors and institutions and do you finde them to be of high quality?
  • does the journal provide information on the peer review process and what is the process like?
  • is the publication listed in the DOAJ directory?
  • is the publisher listed in the OASPA directory?
  • are the terms of the publication agreement and of the copyright reasonable?

You can ask the editors or members of the editorial board for an opinion on the journal. You can also ask authors of previously published articles for their opinion. If the journal has an impact factor value, check if it is correct.

Additional information on predatory OA publications: