Membership Criteria

  • The publisher has at least one Open Access book or a journal that regularly publishes original research or scholarship which is all open access.
  • The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated.
  • The publisher’s website demonstrates that care has been taken to ensure high standards of presentation. It must not contain misleading information, including any attempt to mimic another journal/publisher’s site.
  • Published articles or books can be read without the requirement for registration of any kind.
  • Full contact information is visible on the website and includes a business address.
  • Clear and detailed Instructions for Authors are present and easily located from the homepage. The guidelines include details of the Open Access and Copyright Policies for this publication.
  • Peer-based review processes for articles or books should include independent external reviewing, appropriate for the subject, by experts in the field who are not part of the publisher’s editorial staff. This process and policies related to peer review shall be clearly outlined on the journal and/or publisher web site.
  • Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies of sufficient size to support the journal, whose members are recognized experts in the field(s) that constitute the scope of the publication.
  • Any fees for publishing are clearly displayed in a place that is easy to find. If there are no charges to authors this should also be highlighted.
  • The licensing policy (including policy on re-use and redistribution) shall be clearly stated and visible on the web site and all published material. The license policy should allow for the broadest re-use of published material possible – OASPA may ask for information on the reasoning for your chosen license policy if restrictions apply. For journals OASPA expects at least one fully open access journal to be CC BY, however use of the CC BY-NC license is currently also permitted (see OASPA licensing FAQs). Any pricing differences related to different licenses or copyright should be transparent and clearly displayed.
  • Members should not indulge in any practices or activities that could bring the Association or open access publishing into disrepute.
  • Any direct marketing activities publishers engage in, including solicitation of manuscripts, shall be appropriate and well targeted.
  • Journals shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of ads will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting ads and whether they are linked to content or reader behavior (online only) or are displayed at random.
  • Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal or publisher shall be clearly indicated on the journal or publisher Web site and should include a physical address and names of people involved, as well as information on financial support. Publishers shall not use organizational names that would mislead potential authors and editors. Where appropriate, we will request information about the legal status of the publishing organization, for example, whether it is a privately-owned or public company, a not-for-profit organization or a charity. We will request company registration information. Owners of companies should not be involved in editorial decision making.
  • Business models or revenue sources (eg, author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal or book publisher’s Web site.
  • Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal – the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations.
  • Journal or book publishers shall have clear policies on handling potential conflicts of interest of editors, authors, and reviewers and the policies should be clearly stated.
  • A journal or book publisher’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to published content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMedCentral) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.
  • Demonstration of the following would also be desirable: Availability of DOIs for published content, COPE membership, A&I services if applicable.

In forming the OASPA criteria above, we have collaborated with the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals and the World Association of Medical Editors in an effort to identify principles of transparency and best practice and to clarify that these principles form part of the criteria on which membership applications will be evaluated. Please see the full statement released jointly with these organizations.

In some cases we might contact editorial board members and/or authors during the membership application review process to determine whether content and editorial practices are rigorous.

Other organizations who are allied to publishing but not publishers themselves may also join as members of OASPA, provided that the board feel they provide significant services and/or support for open access publishing to support OASPA’s statement on open access.