Quality Open Access Market (QOAM) is an assessment tool for researchers to evaluate more than 17.000 open access journals incl. conventional journals with an open access option.  

If a significant number of researchers participate, QOAM could be a helpful supplement to dominating but also controversial metrics like the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_factorjournal impact factor.

QOAM is developed and funded by the Dutch research organisations  SURF, NWO, CWTS, KNAW and Radboud University. Moreover, the consultation process was supported by several renowned international experts, funding bodies (incl. FWF) and publishers.

QOAM in a nutshell
Quality Open Access Market (QOAM) gives members of the academic community the opportunity to share their insights on critical aspects of open access journals. This concerns both quality and price.

Quality is checked via two validated questionnaires: a Base Score Card and a Valuation Score Card. The Base Score Card analyses the transparency of a journal's web site and is usually completed by libraries. The Valuation Score Card is a reality check sharing author experiences with a journal. The combination of both scores constitutes a journal’s SWOT matrix, resulting in four journal categories: Strong and Weaker journals, those which are a Threat (to authors) and journals which are an Opportunity (to publishers).

QOAM is soliciting explicitly the judgements of the academic community. So, for completing a Score Card one has to log in with an institutional email address. See also: https://www.qoam.eu/faq

Today, publication fees of open access journals vary widely: from free to €3000 and up. Responding to the success of open access publishers like PLoS, Copernicus or BioMedCentral a growing number of classical publishers have also included an open access mode via so called hybrid journals. They sometimes generate a double income by charging both readers (via full library subscriptions) and authors (via full publication fees); the so called ‘double dipping’.

In this nascent market QOAM tries to make price information as transparent as possible by collecting the publication fees as quoted on a journal’s web site (via the Base Score Card) and the real price as paid by an author (via the Valuation Score Card). QOAM may also show the discounts that authors get if their institute has settled an Open Access licence with a publisher. So far this option is only utilized by SURFmarket, the Dutch licencing agency, but other licensees are invited to show their negotiated discounts as well.   

QOAM is an academic self-help instrument that fully depends on the contributions of libraries, authors and journal editors. It is independent of publishers although a growing list of publishers has included their open access and hybrid journals in QOAM for academic judgement. Today QOAM has 17.000+ journals which provide publishing in open access waiting to be scored.

To conclude
QOAM should become the meeting point where shopping authors select a journal to publish their article in, publishers may find out how to improve their journal and funders, policy makers, journalists and the public at large enter a transparent academic publishing environment. For that, QOAM has to go viral like the H-index, ResearchGate or Wikipedia.


Falk Reckling

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