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Open Access Publishing

University Libraries supports Open Access publishing

What is an Open Access Journal?

As defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative, users of open access journals have the right to “read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles.” The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is currently the most thorough and authoritative source for conducting research in and on open access journals published throughout the world. An application must be submitted for every journal to be considered for inclusion in the DOAJ, with over 40 pieces of information checked for every application. Here are some of the criteria DOAJ staff and volunteers check:

  1. The journal’s ISSN(s) number(s) is registered at and matches the application;
  2. The title in the application matches what is registered at;
  3. The country of the publisher in the application matches that registered at;
  4. The journal has an editorial board with identifiable members; members’ contact details are requested as part of the application review process. These will not be made publicly available.
  5. The full text of articles is free and immediately available upon publication;
  6. There is no embargo (delay) on the content being made freely available;
  7. The journal’s Open Access policy is clearly stated and easily findable on the web site;
  8. The journal executes some form of peer review that is clearly stated on the web site and matches that which is stated in the application form;
  9. The journal is Open Access according to the BOAI definition. By this it is meant that the journal’s articles have “free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.”
  10. If the journal has article processing charges (APCs), they are clearly stated and easily findable on the web site;
  11. If the journal has any other kind of author charges, they are clearly stated and easily findable on the web site;
  12. The language of the full text articles matches the language stated in the application.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Questions to ask yourself when exploring open access journals to publish in might include:

  • Does the journal have an Impact Factor (see Journal Citation Reports®) or similar metric(s) reflecting its status within the research community?
  • Where is the journal indexed?
  • Is the review process transparent?
  • Is an author fee charged and does the publisher reveal what that fee covers?
  • Are fees waived for any reason?

You may want to contact the journal editor directly, as well as review some of the articles yourself, to assess the quality of the work in that journal.

Read & Publish / Transformative Agreements at Mason

Below is a list of transformative agreements that George Mason University Libraries have established with certain publishers. According to the University of Nottingham, transformative agreements are "contracts negotiated between institutions and publishers that transform the business model underlying scholarly publishing towards a fully open access model." The Libraries have forthcoming arrangements with the American Chemical Society, the Public Library of Science (PLOS), and Springer. Authors seeking to publish with a specific publisher listed below should read the 'Information for Authors', which has important details and exclusions.

Publisher Based on Information for Authors

American Chemical Society

VIVA Read/Publish Agreement

Information for Authors


Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

VIVA Read/Publish Agreement Information for Authors


BioMed Central (BMC)

(agreement ended 12/31/2023)


Institutional Membership


Discount on APCs

Cambridge University Press VIVA Read/Publish Agreement Information for Authors
Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy Institutional Membership

Waives $20 submission fee

Institute of Physics

(a 2-year pilot agreement ending 12/31/2024)

VIVA Read/Publish Agreement Information for Authors
International Water Association VIVA Read/Publish Agreement  


(select titles only)

VIVA OA Agreement

For these journals:

  1. PLOS Computational Biology
  2. PLOS Digital Health
  3. PLOS Genetics
  4. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  6. PLOS Pathogens
  7. PLOS Complex Systems


More information forthcoming

Rockefeller University Press VIVA Read/Publish Agreement Information for Authors


Hybrid journals only

List of journals covered. 

VIVA Read/Publish Agreement

Information for Authors 



Wiley VIVA Read/Publish Agreement Wiley Agreement FAQ