I first searched to see what an open-access journal means. According to Suber Peter’s book “Open Access Overview”, it is defined as a scholarly journal available online and free of charge and other access barriers. They remove price barriers such as subscription, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees, and most permission barriers (e.g., copyright and licensing restrictions).
While looking for open access journals in the architecture and design field, I noticed fewer journals exist in this field compare to other disciplines. I found a link to a website called Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which lists open access journals, and I searched for open access journals in the field of architecture. Most of them were short-term publishers, and their last issue dates back to a couple of years ago. This observation is in line with the conditions architecture as a discipline has been experiencing during the past decade. With advances in technology and an increase in the number of students and institutions dedicated to architectural education, and at the same time, global economic challenges, architectural design is experiencing an alteration of its role in the society. Besides the fact that architecture is more known to be a professional practice, there are a few funding resources for design research. Consequently, the rate of publishing papers is lower compare to other domains of research. Most of the open access journals are Europe-based, and their focus is on urbanism and large-scale design and planning. The ones in the US are mostly related to the construction and management studies.
Among 114 open access journals listed in DOAJ (most of which published their last issue some years ago), I choose Footprint Journal, a TU Delft University architectural theory (peer-review) journal dedicated to publishing architecture and urban research.
In its About page, the journal describes its focus and scope as:
“the journal encourages the study of architecture and the urban environment as a means of comprehending culture and society, and as a tool for relating them to shifting ideological doctrines and philosophical ideas. The journal promotes the creation and development – or revision – of conceptual frameworks and methods of inquiry.”
On the same page and in a section called Open Access Policy, they indicated:
“You are free to use the work, but you have to attribute (refer to) the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).”
There is no article processing charges or submission charges. I think this policy applies to most open access architectural journals, which might be another possible reason for their slow publishing rate.