Western Libraries

Scholarly Publishing

Open Access

Open access (OA) is a principle by which scholarly content is made available online free of charge and with minimal copyright and licensing restriction. Western Libraries fully supports the open access movement and encourages researchers to investigate open access publications as possible venues for their work.

Western's researchers are required to comply with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publishing. Please refer to the Canadian Association of Research Libraries' Quick Answers Guide for more information about the policy and consult Western Libraries' website on this new policy for more information on local supports available to grant recipients.

Western Libraries can help researchers navigate author rights and identify reputable open access journals and disciplinary repositories. Open access publishing is directly supported through two primary vehicles by Western Libraries:

  • Scholarship@Western is an open access platform to disseminate the scholarship created by Western researchers.  Scholarship is indexed by Google Scholar and offers you sophisticated download statistics using Counter, an industry standard.  This platform can host open access journals, conference proceedings, working papers, videos and more.  To add your work to Scholarship@Western and find out how to showcase your research in a Researcher Gallery, click here or talk to our Scholarship@Western team.
  • the Open Access Fund is a Western Libraries fund which provides eligible researchers at Western university with financial assistance to cover the publication fees charged by many peer-reviewed open access publications. To apply for funding, click here.

Open Access (free e-book by Peter Suber)

Evaluating Open Access Journals (Western University)


OA Advocacy Groups

  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition – SPARC
    A international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication.
  • Open Knowledge Foundation
    Open Knowledge is a worldwide non-profit network of people passionate about openness, using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and enable people to work with it to create and share knowledge.
  • Right to Research Coalition
    Promotes open scholarly publishing based on the belief that no student should be denied access to the articles they need because their institution cannot afford the often high cost of access.

Authors' Rights

Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
SPARC is an academic and research libraries international alliance whose goal is to create a more open system of scholarly communication.

SPARC Canadian Author’s Addendum
This tool can guide authors in making the best decisions regarding their publication options.

Predatory Publishers (University of Ottawa)
A guide to help author’s evaluate publishers.

Canadian Funding Agencies Policies (University of Saskatchewan)
This libguide includes an outline of Canadian funding agency policies.


Copyright @ Western (includes Fair Dealing section)
Copyright resources and services available at Western.

A database of publisher policies on copyright and self-archiving.

A database of research funders open access policies.

Creative Commons – Canada
A non-profit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Creative Commons Interactive Tool


Research Impact

There are many different ways to determine research impact or "impact factor".   Impact can be measured for whole journals or individual researchers.  The chart below provides a brief introduction to the different metrics available and what they mean.   It is important to note that each metric often has its own problems. The best way to evaluate the quality of research output is to have it read and judged by experts in the discipline (peer review).  

MetricMeaningCalculation & Tools

Impact Factor

A measure of the frequency with which the "average article" published in a given journal has been cited in a particular year or period and is often used to measure or describe the importance of a particular journal to its field.

Journal impact factors are not always reliable, and therefore should only be used for measuring the influence of entire journals, but not for the assessment of individual papers or researchers (for more on this, see the criticisms below). 

Use a two-year period to divide the number of times articles were cited by the number of articles that were published

200 – the number of times articles published in 2012 and 2013 were cited by the indexed journals during 2014.
73 = the total number of "citable items" published in 2012 and 2013.
200/73 = 2.7, the 2014 impact factor score

Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

For more help with this, watch this video on how to find an impact factor.

H Index

The H Index focuses more specifically on the impact of only one scholar instead of an entire journal. The higher the h index, the more scholarly output a researcher has.

  1. Create a list of your publications. Put the list in descending order based on the number of times it was cited (use any of the tools on the right to get this number). The first article should have the most citations. Go through and number these.
  2. Look down through the list to figure out at what point the number of times a publication has been cited is equal to or larger than the line number of the publication.
Paper# of citations
1 58
2 30
3 18
4 7
5 6
6 4

h index= 5 (There are 5 articles that have been cited at least 5 times.  To reach a score of 6, the 6th article would need to be cited at least 6 times).


For more information see:

G Index

The G Index can be thought of as a continuation of the H Index. The difference is that this index puts more weight on highly-cited citations. The G Index was created because scholars noticed that h-index ignores the number of citations to each individual article beyond what is needed to achieve a certain h-index. This number often complements the H Index and isn't necessarily a replacement.

When articles are, again, ranked in decreasing order of the number of citations that they received, the g-index is the (unique) largest number such that the top g articles received (together) is at least g2 citations.

Eigenfactor  Score

A high Eigenfactor score signals that the journal does not self-cite and controls the network of that discipline. It's useful to look at scholar's h index as well as the Eigenfactor score of the journals they publish in in order to get a broad sense of their impact as a researcher.

The Eigenfactor Score calculation is based on the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR year, but it also considers which journals have contributed these citations so that highly cited journals will influence the network more than lesser cited journals.  References from one article in a journal to another article from the same journal are removed, so that Eigenfactor Scores are not influenced by journal self-citation.



An alternative type of metric that measures attention that individual items (articles, books, videos, researchers) receive.  Altmetrics capture data beyond just citation counts, often looking at things like article views, downloads or mentions in social media.

There is no standard for calculating altmetrics.   In general, a high altmetric score indicates that an item has received a lot of attention. Remember that attention doesn’t necessarily indicate that the article is important or even of quality. That’s why it’s useful to use altmetrics and impact factor together.


Impact factors have a huge, but controversial, influence on the way published scientific research is perceived and evaluated. Numerous criticisms have been made of the system:

  1. Journal impact factors depend on the research field: high impact factors are likely in journals covering large areas of basic research and less likely in more subject-specific journals.
  2. Although Journal Citation Reports includes some non-English journals, the index is heavily skewed toward English-language journals, leaving out important international sources.
  3. Researchers may be more likely to pursue fashionable topics that have a higher likelihood of being published in a high-impact journal than to follow important avenues that may not be the as popular.

Adapted from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library

Journal Pricing