Finding an Open Access journal with the DOAJ

Looking to publish in Open Access but not sure how to find a suitable Open Access journal in your specific discipline? The easiest way to start your search is browsing through the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which was created to increase the accessibility, usage, and impact of quality OA resources.

The DOAJ indexes academic journals across all disciplines that are peer-reviewed and only have the Full OA-option, not the Hybrid OA-option. If you already have a specific journal in mind to publish your publication in, you can enter its title or ISSN in the simple search box on the homepage and check whether it is included in the DOAJ or not. If it is, you can rest assured that the journal is qualified. If it’s not, there is still the possibility that is has not been brought to the attention of the DOAJ yet, since publishers have to apply to have their journal indexed. You can take a look at the application form and the criteria the DOAJ uses to measure quality here.

In case you don’t yet know where you want to publish, you can look up journals via the search box on the home page or via the more advanced search by clicking on ‘search’ in the upper toolbar.

Simple search box
Advanced search box

You can either search for journals or articles, for our goal we will select the journals option. Aside from using keywords and subjects, you can also search by (country of) publisher or journal language. If you want to use controlled vocabulary for your search, you can select a subject filter in the left toolbar. Let us for example have a look at the subject “Language and Literature”, which gives us 1433 indexed journals.[1] You can then refine further by subtopic (e.g. Romanic languages), language, license, publishers, publishers’ countries, and peer review type. An interesting filter is to only look for journals without Article Processing Charges (APCs), meaning that you can publish your article in OA without having to pay for it.

Refine search results

We see that 91% of the 1433 journals do not require the payment of an APC, of which nine are published in Belgium (amongst others Interférences litteraires/literaire interferenties, published at KU Leuven, and Authorship, published at Ghent University). This is a clear indication of that fact that it’s a misconception that publishing in Gold OA will always cost you money.[2]

Once you click on a specific journal title you will find more information about how to publish with this journal, such as author fee, instructions for authors, expected time from submission to publication, etc. Moreover, the DOAJ tells you under which license articles are published and if the author retains unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights or not. Finally, the journal’s metadata are listed here: publisher, publications language(s), and subject(s) (according to the Library of Congress Classification system).

Example of the ‘about journal’ page from Interférences litteraires/literaire interferenties

With this method, the DOAJ is a surefire way to find the journal best suited for your article. If you are looking to publish a book rather than an article, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and the OAPEN Library are a good starting point to locate Open Access book publishers. [3]


[1] This search result was produced on 04/05/2021. Every day, new journals are indexed in the DOAJ so the numbers increase rapidly.

[2] Have a look at the post ‘The Open Access color palette’ to learn more about the different OA business models.

[3] This blogpost was written together with Laura Mesotten and Jolien Berckmans, former member of the Artes Research Team.

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