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Open access (OA) journals are scholarly journals that are available with unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse.  Even though open access journals are freely available to the audience, some of them charge article processing charges to the submitting authors while some others are subsidized by academic institutions, societies, etc. 

Open access journals apply the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to the works they publish.  Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, redistribute or adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material) these articles for any purpose, as long as the author and original source are properly cited.

Good open access, peer-reviewed journals are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), where you can search journals and articles by different parameters such as keywords, title, subject etc.

A way of identifying high-impact open access journals is to look at statistics that measure the average number of citations that articles published in the journal have.  There are a few different citation-based metrics.  The most widely used is the “Impact Factor” from Thomson Reuters which measures the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period and is published in the Journal citation Reports (JCR). The site SCImago, uses citation data from SCIverse Scopus (Elsevier database) and computes “SCImago Journal Rankings” (SJRs) based on the number of times citations to the journal have appeared in other indexed journals. Another ranking based on article impact is the one developed by, which is based on citation data from ISI Web of Science.  The list of highest-impact OA according the different methods is similar.

The majority of high impact factor open access journals are in the sciences and engineering, mainly in the topics of Biology, Medicine and related subjects.

We have created a list of high-impact open access journals in the Biomedical and related areas where you can access free good quality papers and reviews that could be useful for your research.


1. Ca-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
Impact factor (2013/2014): 162.5
SJR Rank (2013):1
SJR (2013): 45,894

2. PLos Medicine
Impact factor (2013/2014): 14
SJR Rank (2013): 259
SJR (2013): 5.17

3. PLoS Biology
Impact factor (2013/2014): 11.77
SJR Rank (2013): 135
SJR (2013): 7.669

4. Nature Communications
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 10.742
SJR Rank (2013): 218
SJR (2013): 5.682

5. PLos Genetics
Impact factor (2013/2014): 8.167
SJR Rank (2013): 172
SJR (2013): 6.56

6. EMBO Molecular Medicine
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 8.2
SJR rank (2013): 269
SJR (2013): 5.0

7. PLos Pathogens
Impact factor (2013/2014): 8.057
SJR Rank (2013): 268
SJR (2013): 5.02

8. BMC Biology
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 7.43
SJR Rank (2013): 352
SJR (2013): 4.289

9. BMC Medicine
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 7.28
SJR Rank (2013): 796
SJR (2013): 2.695

10. Cell Reports
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 7.2
SJR Rank (2013): 118
SJR (2013): 8.134

11. PLos Neglected Tropical Diseases
Impact factor (2013/2014): 4.57
SJR Rank (2013): 997
SJR (2013): 2.369

12. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Impact Factor (2013/2014): 3.698

13. The Lancet Global Health
* Launched in June 2013, it does not have an impact factor or SJR yet. 

This resource was originally posted in Global Health Laboratories.