Open Access

Finding open-access journals on Scopus keeps getting easier

Journal Indicator search makes OA journals more visible among 22,000+ titles

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Over the past five years, the number of open access journals has increased steadily. More than 4,000 of the 22,000+ journals indexed in Scopus are fully open access.

But in order for that research to be useful, it needs to be easy to identify. That’s why we have created the Open Access Journal Indicator in as part of our efforts to make OA content even more visible.

Scopus (@Scopus) is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. It’s used for a wide variety of purposes by individual researchers as well as academic institutions and government agencies.

Alicia Wise, PhDThis OA Journal Indicator helps researchers who want to search freely accessible text, it shows authors where they might want to publish their work open access, it helps funders track compliance, and it helps librarians who are interested in undertaking a specific analysis of open access journals.

“This is a great step for Scopus and for open access,” said Dr. Alicia Wise, Director of Access and Policy at Elsevier. “Researchers want information about open access content, and Scopus now provides greater clarity at journal level. It sheds light, for example, on the number of open access journals that charge Article Publishing Charges and the number of open access journals that recover their publishing costs in other ways.”

How it works

The indicator allows users to identify open access journals in Scopus via the Browse Sources link. That link provides a list of all the open access journals, books series, trade publications and conference proceedings available in Scopus, as well as the 18,000 hybrid and subscription only journals.

Via Scopus’s Browse Sources journal page, you can search for open access journals based on a journal’s title, ISSN or publisher, subject area, or by using the alphabet for the first letter of the journal’s title.

The open access indicator follows an update in how Scopus defines an open access journal. If it’s registered as open access in either the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or the Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources (ROAD), then it qualifies. Three to four times a year, the list of qualifying journals is revised by checking whether a journal is still open access. Newly accepted titles, meanwhile, are added to the title list after acceptance by Scopus’s Scopus Content Selection & Advisory Board.

However, the story doesn’t end there.

More improvements on the way

By next year, we want to make it possible for researchers to search Scopus for open access on an article level.

Because DOAJ and ROAD only cover gold open access journals, hybrid Journals (where authors can choose to pay a fee to make an article open access) are currently not included. The same is true for delayed open access journals, where articles become freely available after a set period of time.

It’s very challenging to capture that open access information on an article level because the article open access status can change over time. While we update our journal information several times a year, some articles will change their status in that time, for example, if they’re delayed open access and change status after an embargo period. We need to find a solution that would ensure that we don’t have outdated information online. And because Scopus indexes articles from over 5,000 publishers any solution would need to be industry-wide.

If we can find a way to get the current access status of the article on the fly, we can then filter them according to open access status at an article level. When that happens, we will have developed something that nobody has yet been able to do – an up-to-date, comprehensive list of open access articles across all journal types from over 5,000 publishers.

These steps are part of Elsevier’s strategy to make science more open across all its platforms, as Rachel Martin (@rachelcmartin), Access & Policy Communication Manager at Elsevier, explained:

“I think over the past five years, there’s been a big change in how Elsevier is perceived with open access,” she said. “In addition to our open access publishing program, we’re implementing OA in our tools, and integrating it into all our platforms"

What are ROAD and DOAJ?

ROAD, the Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources, is a service offered by the ISSN International Centre with the support of the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO. ROAD provides a free access to a subset of the ISSN Register (1,8 millions of bibliographic records, available on subscription). This subset comprises bibliographic records which describe scholarly resources in Open Access which have been assigned an ISSN by the ISSN Network: journals, conference proceedings and academic repositories. 

DOAJ, Directory of Open Access Journals, is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. The aim of the DOAJ is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. In short, the DOAJ aims to be the one-stop shop for users of open access journals.

Elsevier Connect Contributors

Ian EvansSusanne SteigingaAs Product Manager for Scopus Content at Elsevier, Susanne Steiginga is working on the execution of Scopus, its content roadmap and strategy through content expansion programs and new Scopus content releases. She is also in close contact with customers, editors and publishers and is a Scopus liaison for Marketing and Sales.

Ian Evans is Communications Business Partner at Elsevier, based in Oxford. He joined Elsevier four years ago from a small trade publisher specializing in popular science and literary fiction.

Prior to this he worked for several years on a leading trade magazine for the electrical retail industry, reporting on new technologies and market trends in consumer electronics. He holds a degree in English literature from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and spends his spare time reading, writing, and playing drums.

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