The Impact Factor of Open Access journals

In the world of Open Access publishing the golden road has received a great deal of attention. At least this is what our researchers seem to remember. Of course there are other roads to open access, but I want to present the impact factors of the journals facilitating the golden road to open access. This blogpost lists all open access journals included in DOAJ and assigned an Journal Impact Factor in the JCR 2009. The reason for this, is that our researchers see publishing in open access journals as the simplest way of achieving open access to their work, but on the other hand they are required for judgement of the citation impact that they publish in journals covered by Web of Science and therefore the Journal Citation Reports (JCR).

In the past there have been studies on citation impact of the open access journals that have actually received a journal impact factor from Thomson Reuters Scientific (formerly ISI). The first was by (McVeigh 2004) followed by (Vanouplines and Beullens 2008) (in Dutch, and not openly accessible) and recently by (Giglia 2010). These consecutive studies showed an increasing number of open access journals that received an Journal Impact Factor from Thomson Reuters. McVeigh reported 239 OA journals for the JCR 2004, Vanouplines reported 295 OA journals for the JCR 2005 and Giglia reported 385 OA journals for the JCR 2008 (there are some methodological issues that make these figures not entirely comparable).

The pitfall of these studies is that although they showed interesting figures and additional analyses, none of these studies actually published the list of open access journals that received an impact factor. The sole purpose of this blogpost is to publish this actual list. The probable reason for the previous authors is that the impact factors are proprietary information from Thomson Reuters. You are not allowed to publish these figures. On the other hand most publishers, use it in all their marketing outings for their journals. So the journal impact factor is virtually information in the public domain.

To avoid any intellectual property problems with Thomson Reuters I have included the ScimagoJR and Scopus SNIP indicator for the journals rather than the Journal Impact Factor. The correlation for this set of journals between SNIP and IF was 0.94 and between SJR and IF was 0.96. In total 619 journals from DOAJ were present in the JCR 2009 report (Science and Social Science & Humanities version deduplicated). The growth in journal coverage is due to the growth in OA journals and the significant expansion of journal coverage in 2008. On the other hand looking at the journal list of Scopus indexed journals I note that they include some 1365 journals open access journal which have a ScimagoJR or SNIP.

For the current table I matched the journal list from DOAJ downloaded on December 13th 2010, with the deduplicated list of the JCR 2009 indexed journals. This journal set of 619 journals was matched against the journal list from to include the ScimagoJR 2009 and SNIP2009 as well. For each journal the subject categories indicated by DOAJ were included. The journals were sorted alphabetically on subjects and descending IF within a subject. For the following table journals with multiple subject assignments in DOAJ were included in their different categories as well. This expanded the list to 782 lines. Finally the column with impact factors was removed, showing only the ScimagoJR and SNIP for the journals. A few journals were not assigned a ScimagoJR or SNIP, but these were assigned a Journal Impact Factor. In some cases this was due to differences in journal coverage between Scopus and Web of Science, but in a few cases this appears also the problem of different ISSN assignments by the respective databases.

Download: List of open access journals that are assigned an Impact Factor in the JCR 2009 showing their respective SNIP and ScimagoJR for 2009.

Have fun with this list


Giglia, E. (2010). The Impact Factor of Open Access journals: data and trends. ELPUB 2010 International Conference on Electronic Publishing, Helsinki (Finland), 16-18 June 2010. and

McVeigh, M.E. (2004). Open Access Journals in the ISI Citation Databases: Analysis of Impact Factors and Citation Patterns A citation study from Thomson Scientific, Thomson Scientific.

Vanouplines, P. & R. Beullens (2008). De impact van open access tijdschriften. IK Intelectueel Kapitaal 7(5): 14-17. (In Dutch, Not OA available)

Possibly related posts
Another expansion of journal coverage by Thomson

27 thoughts on “The Impact Factor of Open Access journals”

  1. so the next step is to make clear how these OA impact factors translate into Q1 – Q4 categories…

  2. Thank You for an excellent information on IF and OA/DOAJ journals.
    I would like to know if you have plans to later update the list?

    Marjatta Sikström
    Stockholm Univ.Library

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  4. Talking of open access, to access the list it seems a Google account is needed, at least I was asked to sign into Google Docs… Why not have it simply as a PDF or normal Web page that everybody can access openly?

  5. Wouter

    Have you updated this list or are you aware of someone else who may have done it?

    University of Pretoria

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