Open access journals make articles freely available. Some of them even allow the authors to keep the copyright of their work. It would seem that they offer a compelling alternative to traditional journals, especially if you hope to reach to people outside academia.
However, open access may allow you to get a free copy of an article, but your rights might still be limited. For example, videos on YouTube are freely available, but you are not allowed to copy or reuse them freely.

The directory of open access journals gives a list of over 300 open access journals in Computer Science. Thus, finding an adequate open access journal where you can submit your work is relatively easy.

However, there are a few sore points.

1. Indexing of open access Computer Science journal is generally weak

A journal needs to be indexed so that your fellow researchers can find out about your work. Most open access journals will be indexed by Google Scholar, but other indexes are important in Computer Science such as DBLP and the ACM Digital Library. Scopus is also often used by hiring and promotion committees. (Scopus is run by Elsevier.)

As I review the open access journals in Computer Science, I find that indexing is often a sore point. The next table shows that the ACM Digital Library does a poor job at indexing open access journals. In fact, I could find only two open access journals indexed by ACM. It cannot be explained by the prestige of the respective journals: some of these open access journals that ACM fails to index are just as good or better than others it indexes. And, of course, no ACM publication is open access. Quite clearly, ACM is doing little to help open access.

DBLP Scopus ACM
Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science yes
Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science yes yes
Electronic Journal of Combinatorics yes yes
IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin yes
Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research yes yes yes
Journal of Computational Geometry yes
Journal of Computers yes
Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence
Journal of Machine Learning Research yes yes yes
Journal of Universal Computer Science yes yes
Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications yes yes
Theory of Computing yes
Open Journal of Databases
Open Journal of Information Systems

Elsevier and Springer allow authors of papers in some regular journals to make them available under an open access format in exchange for a one-time fee. Their journals are typically well indexed so they may offer good alternatives.

2. Many open access Computer Science journals require complete copyright transfer

To publish an article, a journal does not require complete copyright ownership. The only valid justification for requiring that the author gives away his copyright is to restrict access. When reviewing open access journals in Computer Science, I see that several of them inexplicably require complete copyright transfer:

author keeps copyright publication fee
Chicago Journal of Theoretical Computer Science yes
Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science no
Electronic Journal of Combinatorics yes
IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin no
Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research no none
Journal of Computational Geometry yes
Journal of Computers no €360
Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence no
Journal of Machine Learning Research yes
Journal of Universal Computer Science no
Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications no
Theory of Computing yes
Open Journal of Databases yes €240
Open Journal of Information Systems yes €240

Conclusion There is still much room for progress.

2 Comments

  1. I have been curious about posting a possible article I want to write for a journal and ran across your site in my search for more information. Thanks for posting those tables with the additional info.

    Comment by Brandon Lee — 17/2/2012 @ 3:16

  2. The International Journal of Computer Networks & Communications (IJCNC) is one of the best open access journal in the field of T Computer Networks & Communications

    Comment by cape zafer — 7/5/2012 @ 19:22

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