Do I have to make my work available in Open Access? And how do I choose a qualitative open access journal?

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Do I have to make my work available in Open Access?

On the one hand, more and more funders are imposing obligations on making publications available in Open Access, either directly via the publisher by paying an 'article processing charge' (APC), or by submitting the author's version of your article in a free online database such as the Document Server (i.e. the institutional repository of Hasselt University).
An overview of the most common funders that impose Open Access obligations can be found here. Some research funders explicitly endorse Plan S, which has been in effect since 2021. Plan S requires researchers to immediately make their publication available in Open Access.

On the other hand - in accordance with the UHasselt Open Access policy - all UHasselt authors are expected to upload the author's version of their peer-reviewed publications from subscription journals and proceedings in the repository of Hasselt University (cf. Document Server@UHasselt).

How do I choose a qualitative open access journal?

Since open access is a relatively new phenomenon for quite a few researchers, many of them have questions regarding the quality of open access publication channels, especially open access journals. Their doubts are reinforced by the phenomenon of the so-called "predatory journals". These are journals that publish articles in open access and charge high publishing costs or APCs, without, however, organizing decent editorial services and peer review. In other words, they take advantage of the open access model solely to make money. The articles concerned are not necessarily worthless; they can contain perfectly reliable research that has unfortunately been published in a predatory journal (the publications therefore do not count for funding and for career evaluation).

Fortunately, there are tips for recognizing "predatory journals". Below you can find a brief overview of the most important tips. To be completely sure, however, it is also advisable to consult the page with more general rules of thumb in which the tips below are included.

  1. Check whether the journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals: Peer review guarantees the quality of scientific journals. All journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) use a form of peer review and thus guarantee quality control on the content.
  2. Check whether the publisher is a member of a recognized professional organization such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM); the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)
  3. Check whether the journal is included in databases such as Web of Science, SCimago, Scopus or - for journals in the social and human sciences - in the VABB list of peer-reviewed journals. These websites guarantee the quality of the journal.
  4. Consult websites such as Quality Open Access Market (QOAM) or SciRev, which can help you choose a journal based on the experiences of researchers.
  5. Check whether you know one of the editors of the journal and contact this person with the question whether he/she is effectively editor of the journal and whether the journal applies proper peer review.
  6. Check whether you know one of the authors of recently published articles and ask him/her about experiences, especially regarding peer review.
  7. Consult the website Think. Check. Submit, through which you can check with a simple checklist whether a journal or publisher is reliable.

If you still have doubts despite following the tips above, please contact the University Library (; 011/26.81.22) or choose another journal.