University Library

Open Access and the Impact Factor

The impact factor (Clarivate Analytics) of journals is a major evaluation criterion in science. Open access journals suffer from the prejudice to have worse impact factors compared to subscription journals, though some high-ranking open access journals have established themselves on the market.

It is advisable to check the impact factor in advance of an individual publication. Using the keyword “altmetrics” in search engines, you can find comprehensive information to evaluate scientific performance using alternative bibliometric key data.

DFG supports DOAJ

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that provides access to high-quality, open access and peer-reviewed journals.The German Research Foundation (DFG) has joined the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) to support the  Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

"The DFG considers the sustainability of essential infrastructures for open access to be crucial for the future. The DOAJ has proved to be a very useful tool not only for scientists and libraries, but also for funding organizations and infrastructure providers. We welcome the transparent and sustainable development of the DOAJ in the interest of the public." Angela Holzer (DFG).

(Source: Helmholtz Open Science Newsletter, 18.07.2018)

Predatory Open Access

Currently there is occuring a lot of discussion concerning so-called "fake science“ with the already known problem of so-called "predatory journals". Predatory publishers abuse the open access author-pays model for their own profit. These pseudo-scientific publishers encourage researchers with aggressive advertising to publish, but do not ensure any quality assurance procedures (peer review). Frequently the journal titles are similar to well-known journals and depict fake impact factors on their websites. Nevertheless, they request high publication fees for this fraudulent business practices.

Please also note the following List of Predatory Publishers.

Think - Check - Submit: Checklist for trusted journals

In addition to the Directory of Open Access Journals, the website of the initiative Think Check Submit can serve as a useful tool to identify serious scientific journals. Supported by publishing and library associations, the initiative provides scientists with a checklist to verify the trustworthiness and integrity of scientific journals. In order to raise awareness of the subject, the three-step guide "Think Check Submit" has been translated into numerous languages, including German.

Source: Newsletter Helmholtz Open Science

Pros and cons of Open Access


  • Free access to funded research results
    (end of double dipping)
  • Available for search engines
    (full texts without restrictions via Google and Co.)
  • Long-term availability of documents guaranteed via "Persistent Identifiers"
  • Benefits of digital documents
    (save, copy, send, print allowed)
  • Fast and free access to scientific information
    (reachable to the entire interested public)
  • Better international and interdisciplinary cooperation
    (strengthening countries without extensive research funding)
  • More efficient research
    ("early advantage" availability before publication)
  • Improving the information supply
    (quick information about the current state of research)
  • Increased visibility and citation frequency of documents
    (better accessibility leads to higher citation frequency)


  • Quality concerns
    (fear of a bad reputation)
  • Discovery issues
    (little trust in the technical infrastructure)
  • Long-term archiving of documents
    (risk of "digital volatility")
  • Legal concerns
    (uncertainties regarding authorship and exploitation rights)
  • Financeability of the author pays model
    (significantly higher publication costs)
  • Concerns regarding the distribution of publications and conflicts of interest
    (questions about nationality, institutional pressure, ...)
  • Time spent
    (self-archiving vs. professional repositories)

Contact and individual advice

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail and arrange an individual consultation appointment if required.

Open Access Representative

Please direct all inquiries by e-mail:

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