Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Public Eye Northwest’s Guide To Open Access Journals

by July 27th, 2011

(Last updated April 24, 2012). Open access journals. Open science. Remember those terms. You’ll be hearing more of them in coming months and years.

There’s a growing but often hidden body of peer-reviewed scholarly research being conducted in the U.S. (and other nations) by researchers working for government and publicly-funded universities, particularly in the sciences and public health. Some of it appears online in government reports available free to all. But all too often when leading-edge research on important issues and problems in which we all have a stake does appear online, it is hidden behind the pay-walls of professional and academic journals, making it inaccessible and unaffordable to the general public and many writers working in legacy and new media. This is particularly problematic when the research is funded on the public dime. An “abstract” or short summary is all you get for free.

However change is in the air. More peer-reviewed, publicly-funded scholarly research is beginning to show up online and in full, in what are called “open access” journals – which operate on the principle that free distribution of this work is vital to the public interest.

So is accurately translating that work into Plain English, admittedly not always easy. Which is were outfits like ours come in. Our Open Science archive at Public Data Ferret gives a good indication of what’s at stake.

  • Does manadatory menu labeling at large fast food restaurant chains actually compel healthier choices by customers, as King County supposed it would?
  • What about that indoor public smoking ban Washington state voters approved. Did it spell ruination for bars and taverns, as some in the industry predicted?
  • Did a gift incentive program cut high-risk behavior by AIDS-prone Seattle men?
  • How effective was one strategy to try to get more dentists to locate in underserved regions of Washington state?
  • How did a Seattle-Nairobi research team develop a better AIDS tests for African infants?
  • What caused the Haitian cholera epidemic?
  • How serious is Internet addiction among college students, what are its effects and how can the problem be addressed by health professionals? A study including University of Washington students provides some insight.
  • Is highway tolling fair to low-income households in the Seattle region? A University of Washington public affairs and social equity expert takes a close look.
  • What is the effect of vehicle air pollution on birth weight?

To help foster wider sharing of important scholarly research, and in line with the work of our parent organization Public Eye Northwest, we’re establishing a resource page here of selected “open access” journals, and related online resource guides featuring links to many others. Using basic search methods at all of the individual journals, you can locate published work specific to time, place, institution and topic.


Directory of Open Access Journals
E-Scholarship, University of California
Free Medical Journals
Open Access Journals Search Engine
Public Knowledge Project – Open Access Journals Directory
PubMed search engine, National Institutes of Health
PubMedCentral Journal List, National Institutes of Health
U.S. Centers For Disease Control – Publications
University of Washington Libraries – “Research Works” Archive, 2011


Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture
Annals of Gastroenterology
Asia Journal of Global Studies
BioMed Central
Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Ecology and Society
Environmental Health Perspectives, National Institute of Environmental Health Science
Information Technologies and International Development
Journal of Family Medicine
Journal of Academic Freedom, American Association of University Professors
Journal of Aging Research
Journal of Emerging Technologies In Web Intelligence
Journal of Transport and Land Use
Library Journal
Malaria Journal
Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights
PLoS One: Accelerating The Publication Of Peer-Reviewed Science
PLoS Medicine, Public Library of Science
Urban Library Journal

Please send links to other open access journals or compendiums of same to matt (at) publiceyenorthwest (dot) org. A friendly warning: there are a welter of sites claiming to index open access journals or open access journal compendiums. But due diligence should precede a recommendation. Does the internal search engine at each open access journal return much that’s of worth on a given topic (pick a major disease, for example). How recent are the articles? Do the referenced journals follow the peer-review process? With what institutions are the authors affiliated? Are the so-called open access journals or university open access hubs really open access? Or is access to text of full articles actually still restricted in many cases?

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