E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship


Date of this Version

Winter 2009

Document Type



Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship (Winter 2009) 10(3). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v10n03/ball_k01.html.


Copyright 2009, the author. Used by permission.



There is a small, but rapidly growing, number of scholarly, open access (OA) business journals that are now available on the internet. In May 2004, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 8 business titles. By May 2006, the number had jumped to 26 and as of May 2009, the DOAJ lists 83 business and management titles. An additional 84 economics titles are also available. Looking at other databases: in May 2009, Ulrich’s Periodical Directory includes 113 scholarly OA business and economics journals, 59 of which are refereed. Open J-Gate has 536 OA titles under “Business, economy, and management,” of which 191 are peer-reviewed.

In order for the increasing number of open access business journals to achieve credibility and flourish in the academic and professional environments it is not enough for them to simply be published and freely available on the Internet. Researchers need a means to be able to systematically search across the broad spectrum of business journals, and retrieve the articles in their particular areas of research and study.

This task has traditionally been accomplished by commercial journal indexing databases, e.g. ABI/Inform or Business Source Complete. If a journal is indexed, it tends to mean increased awareness and usage of the title. This, in turn, leads to potentially higher citation levels, impact, and prestige for the journal title, which then attracts more and better research. If open access journals are not included in these commercial indexing databases, researchers must make a special effort to find them, which discourages use. Therefore, the integration with subscription-based journals into standard library databases is important and desirable. This was recognized in a 2005 survey of OA publishers (Kaufman-Wills Group, LLC, 2005, p.24).

Recent years have also seen the emergence of an increasing number of open access indexing services and OA journal repositories with article level indexing, e.g. DOAJ, Open J-Gate, Google Scholar. It is vital that open access journals be indexed in open access databases because in North America they are often the only databases available to business professionals working alone or for smaller organizations, and even for many policy makers in government. Furthermore, in developing countries, OA journals and OA indexes may be all that universities can afford (Ghosh & Das, 2007, p. 230). In 2003, for example, it was estimated that 90% of Indian universities were running their libraries without serial indexes (Willinsky, 2006, p. 174). OA indexing opens up a wide range of research to a much broader audience and facilitates equality of access to scholarly knowledge. Furthermore, because of the global scope of the OA movement, OA journal repositories and indexing services generally provide researchers with a more diverse, global perspective than previously afforded by the established North American and European commercial business information providers.