Open Access Monitor: Mirror Journals | Jülich Central Library

Barbers, Irene; Delasalle, Jenny; Elsner, Carsten; Voigt, Michaela; Stanzel, Franziska; Maly, Katja; Schmiedicke, Heidi; Lindstrot, Barbara, 2022, “Open Access Monitor: Mirror Journals”,, Jülich DATA, V1.

German libraries publish a list with 47 mirror journals, which are used to circumvent OA mandates. 43 are from Elsevier. A mirror journal is a fully open access version of an existing subscription journal.

A mirror journal is a fully open access version of an existing subscription journal, with the same editorial board, aims and scope, peer review processes and policies and an editorial board with at least 50% of the same members. The journal may have a similar name as the subscription title, but it must have a different ISSN. (

In a joint working group, composed of staff from the university libraries of TU Berlin and TU Braunschweig, as well as from the Charité and Forschungszentrum Jülich, review criteria were developed and a list of journals was compiled. All journals were checked by at least two institutions according to the four-eyes principle.

Mirror Journals are excluded from the “OA-Zeitschriftenliste DFG-Anträge”

More about the Mirror Journals list: (2022-08-04)

Ein Mirror Journal ist eine vollständig frei zugängliche Version einer bestehenden Subskriptionszeitschrift mit demselben Editorial Board, Aims und Scope, denselben Peer-Review-Verfahren und -Richtlinien sowie einem Editorial Board, das zu mindestens 50 % aus denselben Mitgliedern besteht. Die Zeitschrift kann einen ähnlichen Namen wie die Subskriptionstzeitschrift tragen, muss aber eine andere ISSN haben. (

In einer gemeinsamen Arbeitsgruppe, zusammengesetzt aus Mitarbeiter*innen der Universitätsbibliotheken der TU Berlin, der TU Braunschweig, sowie aus der Charité und dem Forschungszentrum Jülich, wurden Prüfkriterien erarbeitet und eine Liste von Journals zusammengestellt. Alle Journals wurden im 4-Augen-Prinzip durch mindestens zwei Einrichtungen geprüft.

Mirror Journals sind aus der “OA-Zeitschriftenliste DFG-Anträge” ausgeschlossen

Ausführliche Erläuterung: (2022-08-04)


Open-access publishing fees deter researchers in the global south

“Authors in low-income countries rarely published free-to-read papers, even when they qualified for publication-fee waivers….

Although many in the scientific community recognize this, it’s been a challenge to demonstrate it empirically, says Bruna. One problem is the difficulty of directly comparing open-access and non-open-access journals, because even those from the same publisher might differ in factors such as reputation and standards of acceptance….

The team also found that authors based in countries eligible for the waiver programme almost never published open-access articles. Bruna was surprised by how ineffective waivers seemed to be. And when waivers are used, even large discounts don’t reduce the cost enough for authors from lower-income regions, who often pay APCs out of their own pockets….”

Double dipping and other bad manners

“So in this context, double dipping is when an article is published open access – that is, an author’s fee has been paid for it to be read for free around the world – but the publisher then charges other users to read that article through a subscription. Now, if that were truly the case, the publisher would be paid twice for the same article.

Bad manners indeed!

Yes, but at Elsevier, we do not double dip. We have two models of compensation for an article: through an open access fee or through a subscription – but we are never paid for the same article twice.

But how do you ensure that? How is that managed?

This is managed through our business accounting. Fully gold open access journals, for example, have no subscription price, and therefore no pricing for those journals is included in any licensing contract. Customers are never charged a subscription fee for gold open access journals.

Ok, that makes sense. But what about hybrid journals that publish both gold open access as well as subscription articles?

Yes, I see how this could be confusing. We manage this by maintaining separate accounting streams. If an author selects to publish open access, the article publishing fee is collected and that article is published as open. Done. Those revenues are kept separate from the revenues of the subscription articles. So when pricing for each subscription journal is determined, revenue from the open access articles does not play into that evaluation. We maintain separate accounting and evaluation processes….”


Elsevier mirror journals with the same titles as the originals with an additional “X” – WUR

“Elsevier introduced about 40 mirror journals, also known as X-journals, which enable researchers to publish Open Access and as such meet the requirements of Plan S and other funders. These mirror journals have the same title as the original with an additional X, e.g. Food Chemistry: X. Mirror journals are very similar to the original – with the same editorial board, aims, scope and peer review policies – but differ in business model and have no impact factors yet….”

What are mirror journals, and can they offer a new world of open access?

To meet the evolving needs of our community and expand our open access publishing options, Elsevier is piloting the concept of open access “mirror journals.” These journals are fully gold open access but share the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review policies as their existing “parent” journals – and the same level of visibility and discoverability. They provide an additional option for open access publishing in the Elsevier portfolio.

They will have the same title as their parent journal, distinguished by the letter X after their name. The new titles will have their own ISSN numbers and citation metrics….

We introduced the concept of OA mirror journals in 2018, launching a pilot program of more than 40 mirror journals across a range of subject areas in life, health and physical sciences….

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) has accepted the first OA mirror journals, and Elsevier will continue to start DOAJ approval processes with all other OA mirror journals. Clarivate has accepted the first mirror journal for ESCI (Emerging Sources Citation Index) coverage, and other applications are in the pipeline. We have been gratified to see that citations have already started to flow in to the OA mirror journals, demonstrating their immediate impact with the research community….

For further information, we have created this FAQ. …”

Are Mirror Journals Just Hybrid Open Access Journals In Disguise Or Are They A Viable Route To The Open Access Future? | A Way of Happening

Developments in the open access world seem to be moving at a lightning pace lately. Plan S has added a realism and urgency to OA discussions. Never to be behind on any ‘scholcomm’ development, Elsevier has started a pilot program of launching what they are calling ‘Mirror Journals’.  Open Access (OA) ‘copies’ of existing peer reviewed journals. Journals that are “fully gold open access but share the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review policies as their existing “parent” journals – and the same level of visibility and discoverability.”

Angela Cochrane gave a good analysis of Mirror Journals as a route to the full OA future in October. Worth a read! She argues that Mirror Journals have the potential to solve several problems publisher face when trying to publish OA, including accusations of double-dipping and the steep challenge of starting a new OA journal from scratch….”

European Commission envoy warns about mirror journals as way around open-access requirements

Research funders are being “taken for a ride” by publishers who launch new so-called mirror journals that mimic existing titles in an open-access format, according to the man spearheading an international effort to make more scholarship freely available.

Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy, said there was something “fishy” about mirror journals, which duplicate the title and editorial board of existing, subscription-based journals.

Some of these mirror journals have emerged since the launch last September of the international initiative Plan S, led by Smits, which would make immediate open access mandatory for academics who win grants from participating funders….

Some publishers see mirror journals as a way of allowing researchers to continue to submit to a near identical journal while remaining Plan S compliant.

But the fear for those leading Plan S is that publishers will end up being paid twice: once for subscription to the original, closed journal, then again when collecting payments from researchers to publish open access in the mirror.

This “double-dipping” criticism has also been leveled at hybrid journals, which contain a mixture of closed and open-access articles….”

Elsevier willing to compensate editors to prevent them from ‘flipping’ – ScienceGuide

“With Plan S rapidly approaching the editorial boards of some journals are considering leaving the paywalled journals at major publishing houses and ‘flip’ their journal to open access. To prevent editors from leaving, Elsevier now appears to be willing to pay editors considerable yearly amounts to stay on….

At this moment multiple editorial boards are moving to ‘flip’ their titles away from the paywalled model….

As the end of 2018 draws Elsevier faces a grim outlook for the coming year. Last week the University of California communicated it is willing to let its contract expire December 31st. Additionally today the Max Planck Digital Library discontinued their agreement with the publisher followed by the news that the Hungarian EISZ consortium has also terminated their negotiations with Elsevier….”

Are mirror journals the solution to publishing open access under Plan S? – The Publication Plan for everyone interested in medical writing, the development of medical publications, and publication planning

In a recent blog in The Scholarly Kitchen, Angela Cochran discusses how the introduction of mirror journals may provide one solution for authors if publication in hybrid journals is no longer an option. A mirror journal is a fully open access version of an already existing subscription-only journal. It would have the same editorial board, aims and scope and peer review processes and policies, but would be a separate publication with its own International Standard Serial Number. Cochran describes the advantages of such an approach and the potential complications that may be encountered, including what would happen to the journal’s impact factor. The intention would be for the open access version to displace the subscription-only content, providing a low-risk path for the journal to flip to full open access. This was also the long-term goal for hybrid journals, although the number of journals that have actually achieved this is relatively small.

However, recently released guidance on the implementation of Plan Sindicates that mirror journals will also be considered non-compliant “unless they are a part of a transformative agreement” with a “clear and time-specified commitment to a full open access transition”. The argument used in Plan S against mirror journals is the same as that for hybrid journals; they involve business models that charge for both access and publication, also known as double-dipping. The search for a solution that satisfies both authors and cOAlitionS will therefore continue….”