New Tool Ranks Cost Effectiveness of Open Access Journals

Typically, the model for open access publishing has been one of  “pay to be published” wherein scholars pay to have their work published after a peer review  process. This model has had some notable successes, producing high impact journals such as PLoS One. Predictably, the success of this  model has quickly been exploited by predatory publishers who publish articles, for a fee, but with little-to-no peer-review, poor editing, and zero impact. There are myriad journals that occupy the space between these extremes, and scholars, who may find the idea of open access appealing, are often left to wonder what the value of publishing in one of these journals might be. University of Colorado-Denver Librarian Jeffrey Beall has led an effort to publicize the existence of predatory publishers and has ferreted out some of the worst offenders on his blog, Scholarly Open Access, but, so far, the quality control efforts have focused on the scammers and spammers and has devoted relatively little effort to the evaluation or comparison of legitimate open access journals.

For these reasons, we wanted to share this data visualization tool that Wired Magazine recently publicized. The tool, which cross references the cost to publish with the relative impact of articles in OA journals, was created by developers at the scholarly publishing data engine “Eigenfactor.” Points in the plot can be highlighted to show the journals name and exact cost and impact. The journals are also listed further down on the page, ranked by their estimated cost-effectiveness. While it’s still in beta, the tool holds possibilities both for scholars seeking reliable information on open access journals and open access journals seeking greater exposure.

Interested in learning more about open access publishing? Set up an appointment by email at or drop in during our open hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-5 and Tuesday and Thursday from 10-5.

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