Open access publications, those publications that do not assess a cost to the reader, have been a research option for several years.
Open access publications often boast quicker publication times and many are peer reviewed. Legal researchers may be familiar with the Social Science Research Network. The Legal Scholarship Network is a staple for some legal researchers. Its subject matter list makes it easy to locate relevant articles. SSRN also includes the fields of accounting, corporate governance, finance and economics.
When legal researchers are seeking scholarly science and medical articles, open access journals may be worth checking. An example of a specific journal is PLOS ONE. This peer-reviewed publication is part of the Public Library of Science family of journals. The focus of research is all disciplines of science and medicine. That includes engineering, environmental sciences, computer, information science, biology, social sciences and many others. There are more than 100,000 articles. Researchers can browse by topic or utilize the search box. The advanced search option helps refine results.
Selecting an article will provide the researcher with an abstract, proper citation information and a link to download the full text. There is an RSS feed option available and the user can set up an account to receive email alerts.
A great resource to locate open access publications is the Directory of Open Access Journals, which contains more than 10,000 journals and more than 1.7 million articles. The website describes the DOAJ as “a service that indexes and provides access to quality, peer reviewed Open Access research journals, periodicals and their articles’ metadata. The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use an appropriate ‘quality control’ system and is not limited to particular languages or subject areas.”
Using the advanced search allows for additional search refinement. Researchers can limit by subject, language, publisher and date of publication.