What is an open access journal?
An open access journal is one that does not charge subscription fees to access its content, thus making articles available online to anyone who wants to read them. Often the publishing costs are shifted to the author in the form of author fees.
Why should I publish in an open access journal?
The purpose of conducting and publishing research is to disseminate new information to the field, and open access publishing allows for the widest possible dissemination by removing paywall barriers to access. Anyone in the world can read your work. Additionally, many open access publishers allow authors to retain their copyright, which means that you can legally share copies of the work widely with colleagues.
Isn't it true that open access journals aren't peer reviewed and anyone can publish in them?
No. Many high quality open access journals have vigorous peer review processes and are highly selective. Unfortunately, the rise of predatory publishing and the perception of "paying to publish" has led to misunderstanding of open access publishing as a whole. It is true that authors need to carefully vet and select their open access publisher; but there are many reputable, high quality, and well reviewed publications to choose from. The Directory of Open Access Journals is the best place to go to find which open access journals are highly regarded in your field.
Many open access journals charge author fees in lieu of charging readers for access to content. The Dartmouth College Library provides financial support for Dartmouth authors publishing in scholarly journals committed to fully open access.