The open access movement is a shift in the ideology of how scientific research should be published and shared with the scientific community and society as a whole. Open access journals do not charge a fee to readers or require a subscription to access them. Instead they cover the costs of publishing by imposing a one-time fee on the author(s) at the time of publishing.
I looked at an open access journal called “Modern Mechanical Engineering” which is published by Scientific Research. The aims of the journal are:
Modern Mechanical Engineering (MME) is an international journal dedicated to the latest advancements in mechanical engineering. The goal of this journal is to provide a platform for scientists and academicians all over the world to promote, share, and discuss various new issues and developments in different areas of mechanical engineering.
The journal explains its open access and article processing charges as:
Modern Mechanical Engineering is an Open Access journal accessible for free on the Internet. At Scientific Research Publishing (SCIRP), we guarantee that no university library or individual reader will ever have to buy a subscription or pay any pay-per-view fees to access articles in the electronic version of the journal. There is hence no revenue at SCIRP neither from the sale of subscriptions to the electronic version of the journal nor from pay-per-view fees. Yet, the online publication process does involve costs including those pertaining to setup and maintenance of the publication infrastructure, routine operation of the journal, processing of manuscripts through peer-reviews, editing, publishing, maintaining the scholarly record, and archiving. To cover these costs, the journal depends on Article Process Charges (henceforth: APC), also called Publication Fees. APC are due when a manuscript has been accepted for publication.
The APC for the journal is $599 and it offers assistance for publications that are being submitted from low-income countries. Although this cost can seem high at first glance, it is much lower than the profits that many of the closed journals make on their subscription fees.
The journal reports that “The 2-year Google-based Journal Impact Factor (2-GJIF) is 0.71.” This is a fairly low impact for a scientific journal, however with the open access movement gaining support the impact of these journals will likely grow. A continuing issue with the academic culture is that most universities and researchers have access to closed journals and therefore do not have a great incentive to include open access publications in their regular reading. Impact factors are directly related to the number of citations that journals receive. The more that academics decide to include open access journals in their research and cite them, the greater the impact factor will be for these journals.