International Identifier for serials
and other continuing resources, in the electronic and print world

ROAD, the Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources




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ROAD is a service offered by the ISSN International Centre with the support of the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO.

Launched in December 2013, ROAD provides a free access to those ISSN bibliographic records which describe scholarly resources in Open Access: journals, monographic series, conference proceedings, academic repositories and scholarly blogs. These records, created by the ISSN Network (93 National Centres worldwide + the International Centre), are enriched by information extracted from indexing and abstracting databases, directories (DOAJ, Latindex, The Keepers registry) and journals indicators (Scopus).

ROAD is in line with the actions of UNESCO for promoting Open Access to scientific resources. ROAD is complementary to the Global Open Access Portal (GOAP) developed by UNESCO and providing a snapshot of the status of Open Access to scientific information around the world.

Main features

• Faceted search,
• Map search,
Advanced search by publisher, language, country, place of publication… and of course by ISSN,
• Presentation of the data sources, whose data are used for enriching bibliographic records

Major purposes

• To provide a single access point to different types of online scholarly resources published worldwide and freely available,
• To provide information about OA resources, the majority of which are referenced by well known directories,
• To give an overview of the Open Access scholarly production worldwide (for statistics purposes for instance),
• To demonstrate new ways of using the ISSN for compiling information from various sources.

Inclusion criteria

To be listed on ROAD (Directory of Open Access Resources), a resource must meet the following criteria. Any false declaration is an exclusion criterion which prevails over all other criteria. 

Types of resources: ROAD includes any type of scholarly resources: journals, blogs, monographic series, conferences, institutional repositories, ongoing integrating resources like databases.

Accessibility: All content must be open access, excluding the need for registration; all content (articles, theses, working papers) is available from the beginning of the publication to the latest issue. The resource must have a dedicated URL. (See Locating the resource).

Licence statement: The open licence and open access policy should be described on the website.

Definition of the resource: The resource should describe its aim or editorial line, its thematic coverage and its target audience, which should be primarily research level.

Content: The content must be of academic or scholarly nature in all fields of knowledge. At the time of application for an ISSN or retrospective listing in ROAD, each issue of the resource must contain at least five (5) articles (originals, review articles or essays).

Editorial responsibility: The resource should mention by name the person who has editorial and scholarly responsibility and who manages the publication. For journals, the persons who make up the editorial bodies (editorial board, editorial council, editorial committee or other names) and the institutional affiliations of the persons mentioned should be specified.

Academic affiliation: The resource must have a clearly expressed academic affiliation (full name, location). The institution may be public (university or research centre) or private (learned society, committee or association).

Publishing entity of the resource: Journals should prominently state the name of the issuing body or institution, as well as its full physical address and website. The mention of the ISNI is recommended if the issuing body or institution is identified by an ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier).

Locating the resource: The country indicated on the ISSN or ROAD application form and on the website of the resource is the country where the publisher or issuing body is registered and carries out its academic and publishing activities. In addition, the relevant ISSN Centre may require the publisher to provide proof of registration in a publishers’ register published by a recognised national institution or association of publishers or universities.

Peer review: For journals, the procedure used for the selection of articles for publication should be detailed on the journal’s website.

Code of ethics and indexing: The journal should mention the standards or codes of ethics it uses (COPE, OASPA, Think. Check. Submit., …) and the indexing services that list it.

Instructions to authors: The journal should provide clear and comprehensive instructions to authors, including information on copyright and publication fees. If there are no fees, this should be clearly stated.

All these elements of information must be verifiable and publicly available on the website of the resource. ISSN Centres may reserve the right to verify compliance with these criteria by any means at their discretion. ISSN Centres may refuse to index in ROAD publications that have no direct affiliation with an academic institution, whatever the domain of knowledge. 

See the FAQ (frequently asked questions) for more information.

Any comments are more than welcome, and can be sent at issnic[at]