OA vs. subscription journals

Are there any differences between OA and subscription publications?

The short answer is no, apart from the business model. OA journals are subject to the same peer review, production and publishing standards that apply for journals published under the subscription-based model, so there is no question about the quality and reliability of the work.

OA journals are tracked for impact factors just as subscription-based journals and are deposited into bibliographic databases and any full text repositories without any embargo period. Authors can also deposit the final version of their OA articles in any institutional repository immediately upon publication. OA journals can also be members of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) and other standards and affiliations just like subscription titles

Avoiding predatory journals

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of predatory journals. These are publications that do not uphold the standards of peer review that are usually expected of reputable journals. Before you submit to a journal we recommend that you take some time to assess if it can be trusted. The Think, Check, Submit campaign provides further information on what to look out for when assessing a journal.


You should check that:

  • You recognise the journal. Have you come across the title in your reading of the subject are? Do your colleagues know the title and have submitted there?
  • You can easily see who published the title and can contact them via email and telephone. Do they clearly state where their offices are based?
  • The journal is indexed in databases that you regularly use to find papers.
  • The journal is a member of standard and affiliations
  • You recognise members of the editorial board or recently published authors
  • They make the peer review policy of the journal clear
  • Any charges or costs are clearly displayed on the journal site


Not all predatory titles are Open Access and not all Open Access titles are predatory. You can easily avoid publishing in an untrustworthy title by taking a few minutes to investigate the journal before submitting.


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