BioMedical Engineering OnLine is one of the most common open access (OA) journals in my field. It has an impact factor of 1.43 and it is meant for readers and authors in the field and throughout the world. Like most open access journals, there are no subscription charges nor registration obstacles to overcome. Also like most other OA journals, it has an article processing fee; the publishers charge $2145 for any article accepted for publication. They do have a membership option for institutions and this processing fee is waived for “member” institutions, reduced in price for “supporter members” in which the author is still accountable for the discounted charge, and it is waived as well for authors from what are considered “low-income countries”.
Open access journals like the one mentioned, provide high visibility for the research at an international scale where interested readers can have full access to the study without having to go through a pay-wall. They provide a fast publication turn-around for authors who are looking to expedite sharing of their results with other researchers in the field and the general masses while taking advantage of promotion and press coverage already set up by the journal and the publisher’s partners.
A downside of publishing in an open-access journal, especially in the field of biomedical engineering, lies in the stigma attached to it where some researchers will question the work and its validity based on some doubts placed behind the peer-review process and mainly the monetary incentive for the journal to accept manuscripts for publication.
To me one of the greatest things about open access journals is the dissemination of important scientific information to researchers and the general public in areas where paying expensive journal subscriptions is not really an option.