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Open Access Publishing

Open access journals provide all of their content to the world, free of charge to the reader. A large listing of open access scholarly journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals, organized by title and specialty.

As is the case with subscription-based journals, open access journals vary in their impact, their review process, and their degree of specialization. Many open access journals are peer reviewed. Business models also vary. Many open access journals are funded by a sponsoring institution. Some are funded by publication fees charged to authors.

Many journals that are not fully open access still include open access articles. Some journals allow open access to their articles at some interval after initial publication; this "embargo period" can range from a few months to a few years.) Many others allow their authors to deposit open access versions of their articles in their personal or institutional repositories. (The Sherpa/Romeo list shows publishers that allow this sort of self-archiving.) Some publishers of closed-access journals will propose to allow open access to an article if the author pays an "open access fee," though many of these publishers also allow authors to self-archive their articles in their own repositories without paying a fee.

Among journals that are not open access, pricing can vary widely, as this journal cost-effectiveness index shows. Choosing to publish in lower-priced journals, or journals that give discounts to smaller institutions or institutions in developing countries, can be an alternative means of increasing the potential readership of an article in cases where open access publishing is not feasible.

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