Below is a list of annotated links I hope you find useful. Please send me suggestions, comments and certainly any errors you find. I plan to continue to update and enhance this list over time.

David J. Solomon, PhD
Michigan State University

Background Information

The Budapest Open Access Initiative - is the source of the term open access initiative and generally recognized as the defining statement about the OAI movement. It was developed at a small conference held in Budapest in December 2001. If you have not already done so, and support the move to develop economic models and mechanisms for freely disseminating scholarship, I urge you to sign the initiative. To participate in the current discussion about OAI issues, you can join the BOAI Forum which is a low-traffic moderated discussion list to support the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

SPARC Open Access Newsletter, Open Access News (Blog) and the Open Access Overview maintained by Peter Suber are some of the best sources of information on the Open Access Initiative OAI. The newsletter, formerly Free Online Scholarship (FOS) is published monthly provides detailed and thoughtful discussion and commentary on the events around the world related to OA. Open Access News which is a blog is updated quite regularly, usually at least once a week. Open Access Overview is a very nice bulleted list of points that forms a good introduction to OA. It is also full of links to additional relevant content.

The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals (ISBN 1-59407-670-7) provides an overview of open access concepts, and it presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement's efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature. Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography's references have such links). (This description was taken from the Web site)


EPrints for Digital Repositories provides high quality tools for developing Open Access Initiative compliant archives for researchers and their institutions to provide free online access to their research output (documents, multimedia and data). The organization's most widely used tool, Eprints3 is a very sophisticated archiving system for digital content.

SPARC® (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition) s an alliance of universities, research libraries, and organizations initiated by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Their goal is to address what they term market dysfunctions in the scholarly communication system often referred to as the "serial pricing crisis." The organization strongly supports open access to scholarship and other solutions to the extremely high price of scholarly journals through advocacy, Incubation (support of projects) and education. SPARC is a major supporter of the OAI and provides many useful resources.

The Public Knowledge Project (PKP) The Public Knowledge Project is a federally funded research initiative at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University on the west coast of Canada. It seeks to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research through the development of innovative online environments. PKP has developed free, open source software for the management, publishing, and indexing of journals and conferences. Open Journal Systems and Open Conference Systems increase access to knowledge, improve management, and reduce publishing costs. See Software & Services for demos, downloads, and information about these systems.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a very comprehensive directory of free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals.DOAJ aims to cover all subjects and languages. At the time of this writing (02-15-07) there were well over 2,500 journals with over 750 searchable at the article level. The Directory is maintained by Lund University Libraries If you are starting a new OAI journal you should definitely add it to the DOAJ.

Lists and Forums

American Scientist Open Access Forum
The SPARC-ACRL Forum on Emerging Issues in Scholarly Communication
Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) Forum


The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD will make it easier for everyone to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA.

Open Access Publishers

BioMed Central is an independent commercial publisher of open access biomedical journals. It currently publishes several hundred OA journals largely funded by author publication fees or by the author's institutional membership in BioMed Central. Along with journals created by the publisher, BioMed Central has an independent journal program that allows groups of scholars such as a small society to create and publish a journal through BioMed Central. This may be a good option for you if your journal is in the biomedical field and you would like to take advantage of the resources of an experienced professional publisher and still have the advantages of OA publication. While there would be publication charges for authors whose employers were not institutional members of Biomed Central, there would be no charges to your organization for hosting the journal.

Co-Action Publishing is a small independent publishing company that works with societies and other groups as a partner in publishing OA journals, books and other material. The company is very flexible and can partner with groups in a variety of ways in joint OA publishing ventures.

Copernicus Publications is an innovative OA publisher that is dedicated to free and universal accessibility particularly in the area of scientific publications. They offer several innovative strategies including very rapid publication and formats designed specifically for online viewing. Copernicus also works to keep article processing fees as low as possible and uses open peer-review processes.

Hindawi Publishing Corporation is a large for profit OA publishing company that publishes over 100 journals in the fields of Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences

Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS publishes a series of seven OA journals in the life sciences. Two are very select journals, PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine. Four focus on specific areas, PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics, PLoS Pathogens and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. PLoS also publishes PLoS one which publishes manuscripts very quickly with minimal screening and provides innovative tools for generating post publication discussion based on the material.

Software Tools

Eprints3 is a sophisticated archiving system for digital content. EPrints offers an efficient and effective way to set up repositories of open access research literature, scientific data, theses, reports and multimedia.

Open Journal Systems (OJS) a powerful and flexible open source journal management system. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing.OJS was developed by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) which is a federally funded research initiative based at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University whose goal is to improve the scholarly and public quality of academic research through the development of innovative online environments. Beyond OJS, PKP has a wealth of useful material on open access publishing. The organization also has developed open conference system which is a parallel system for managing conferences.

poMMo is a versatile open source mass mailing software package that you can use to maintain a mailing list and notify subscribers of new material in your journal. It is written in PHP using a MySQL database and has an AJAX front end. Individuals can easily add or delete themselves from the subscriber list.

The Scholarly Exchange, Inc. provides a fully supported e-publishing platform for hosting an OA journal.  Combining Open Journal Systems public-domain software with complete hosting and support, this service handles all the technical issues of Web hosting and maintaining a journal management system for $1,500 per year. The first year of publication is free and The Scholarly Exchange will work with you to recover the yearly fee through advertising on the journal web site sharing any income in excess of the $1,500. The Scholarly Exchange provides a nice solution for scholars wishing to start a new OA journal but who do not have access to the technical expertise to maintain a Web site and journal management software for far less than it would it would generally cost to secure such support.

WebCite® is an archival system of Web pages that authors and publishers can use to archive Web pages that are cited in their documents. This site addresses a huge problem. Material on the Web is very unstable and constantly moves or disappears all together. WebCite is a very effective solution that is easy and convenient to use and at the moment there is no cost involved. See the WebCite FAQ page for details.

Useful References for Developing OA Journals

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing by Miquel Roig, PhD. This guide is a useful resource for helping address the issue of responsible conduct of research in developing instructions for authors.

Bruce Clay, Inc - is a useful resource for learning about search engine optimization. Helping ensure that your OA journal ranks highly on common search engines such as Google for relevant search terms can facilitate the dissemination of the journal.

Creative Commons - The Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. Many OA journals use their flexible licenses to specify what uses are acceptable for their material.

Constitutions and Bylaws - This brief overview of creating bylaws is a helpful guide for a new OA journal. While not absolutely necessary, developing a set of bylaws for a new journal will begin the process of formalizing and developing an "institutional memory" for how the journal operates.

Getting Found, Staying Found Increasing Readership and Preserving Content for OJS Journals - A useful guide to indexing, archiving and content preservation for OA journals. Developed by by the Public Knowledge Project.

Getting Started in Electronic Publishing - Created by the International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) and written by Sally Morris. This is a brief but well written guide that outlines the issues as well as advantages and disadvantages to the options in how you publish.

Google™ Analytics - is a service provided by Google that will track access to pages in your journal Web site and provide very detailed statistical data on who is accessing the site, how they are using the site and how they are getting to the site. The service is free unless you have a tremendous amount of traffic on the site.

International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals. This is a very widely used standard for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. If you are starting a new journal in the biomedical sciences it would probably be in your interest to request that manuscripts follow these guidelines and reference them in the instructions for authors.

CrossRef - CrossRef is an independent membership association, founded and directed by publishers. CrossRef’s mandate is to connect users to primary research content, by enabling publishers to work collectively. CrossRef is also the official DOI® (digital object identifier) link registration agency for scholarly and professional publications. It operates a cross-publisher citation linking system that allows a researcher to click on a reference citation on one publisher’s platform and link directly to the cited content on another publisher’s platform, subject to the target publisher’s access control practices. Joining CrossRef is relatively inexpensive and will enhance the ability of researchers and scholars to find the content in your journal.

EBSCO Publishing - is the world's largest intermediary or what is sometimes called a content aggregator. They market bundles articles and other material from large numbers of journals and other sources in searchable databases to libraries and other institutions. You may wish to negotiate a contract with EBSCO and/ or similar organizations to add the content of your journal to their database. This can both help disseminate the contents of your journal and provide some income as EBSCO shares part of the revenue it generates from your content.

Initiating and Editing an Online Professional Refereed Journal - A somewhat outdated but useful article that provides fourteen points on starting an electronic journal.

ISSN International Centre - The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an eight-digit number which identifies all periodical publications as such, including electronic serials. Each ISSN assigned to a serial publication is registered in an international database: the ISSN Register. It is the most comprehensive and authoritative source for the identification of serial publications world-wide. When starting a new OA journal you should definitely obtain an ISSN for the journal. There is not cost involved and it just requires completing a simple form. The international center will direct you to the appropriate national center for your journal.

Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Save (LOCKSS) is open source software designed to ensure that important scholarly assets remain available in a distributed, self-repairing, robust, digital preservation system. The LOCKSS Program works with libraries and electronic publishers to preserve materials published online for long term access. If you are starting a new OA journal the LOCKSS system offers a good way to ensure the contents of your journal will be available over the long term.

Open Access Journal Business Guides is a set of useful guides to the financial/business aspects of starting an OA journal developed by the Open Society Institute.

OAIster is a union catalog of digital resources. OAIster uses a metadata harvester to identify and provide access to digital resources by "harvesting" their descriptive metadata (records) using OAI-PMH (the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) protocol. If you are starting a new OA journal and are using a journal management system such as Open Journal Systems that generates OAI-PMH submitting your journal to OAIster will help it become disseminated.

The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors. When starting a new journal, you should submit your journal site to the Open Directory Project. Not only is the directory widely accessed but many of the search engines also use it for content. It is an excellent way to disseminate information about your journal.

PORTICO is a not-of- profit service that provides a permanent archive of scholarly literature published in electronic form including electronic journals. Archiving your content in PORTICO will help ensure that it is always available. If what is termed a "trigger event" happens that causes your content to be no longer available, PORTICO will make the content of your journal available to supporting libraries. There is a modest yearly fee to join.

Publishing Open-Access Journals A brief overview from the Public Library of Science A brief but useful overview of the process of creating and operating an OA journal. Focuses heavily on economic aspects and assumes little or no volunteer work in operating the journal.

SPARC Resources Page - Some of the sections are a little out of date but overall a nice collection of resources for open access publishing collated and published by SPARC. - is a good resource for information on XML or Extensible Markup Language. XML is a meta language for defining markup languages that describe the various elements of a document. It is becoming more and more widely used in publishing PubMed Central, the National Library of Medicine's (USA) OA archive for biomedical journals requires that manuscripts are submitted in a specific form of XML.

*Where possible Webcite is used for hyperlinked references.