ROAD is the acronym for Directory of Open Access scholarly Resources. This is a free service provided by the ISSN International Centre. ROAD was launched as an independent website in December 2013 by the ISSN International Centre with the support of the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO. ROAD is now integrated into the ISSN portal. provides a free access to a subset of ISSN bibliographic records. These records describe the scholarly resources in open access that have been identified by the ISSN Network. 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.
As the ISSN network covers the whole world and identifies any type of continuous resources, the geographic and linguistic coverages of ROAD aim to be comprehensive.
There are 5 types of multidisciplinary, open access resources in ROAD: there are mostly journals, but also monographic series, scholarly blogs, academic repositories and conferences proceedings.
Complete ISSN data about open access scholarly publications included in ROAD (Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources) are accessible for free via the Free Access Portal.
- To provide a single access point to different types of online scholarly resources published worldwide and freely available.
- To give an overview of the Open Access scholarly production worldwide (for statistics purposes for instance).
To provide information about the quality and prominence of OA resources, mentioning by which services they are covered.
ROAD is mostly used to identify OA resources and to access bibliographic description of these publications, but also to discover unpublished material lying in academic repositories. ROAD is mainly used by library and information specialists (45 %) for metadata re-use, and by scholars (35%) for research purposes.
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.
As a publisher, you wish to have your resource signalled as open access and integrated to ROAD.
10.7.1. Your publication has already an e-ISSN
This request will be dealt as any modification request. [See section 6.1 How to report an error or request an update on a record?]
Please note you have to be registered on the Extranet as a publisher, then you must claim for the resource and request a modification through the Report an error function.
See section 8.2 How to register as a publisher?
10.7.2. Your publication has not yet been identified by an ISSN, and there is no national ISSN centre in your country
You must request an ISSN assignment through the ISSN portal.
See sections 1.5 How are ISSN assigned? and 8. I am a publisher
10.7.3. Your publication has no ISSN and there is an ISSN national centre in your country
Please contact your ISSN National Centre to submit your modification request:
No, we can only process the modification requests:
- issued by the publisher of the resource or issued by the subscribers of the ISSN Portal;
- and/or concerning the URL of the resource or a typo to be corrected.
Open access resources are accessible without any barriers, so the ROAD interface as well as the search and display functionalities take back some features accessible to subscribing users.
- ROAD search pages are limited to ISSN records describing open access resources,
- The results pages and the ISSN records are viewed from the ISSN portal,
- A ROAD logo indicates that the resource described is in open access.
- As a ROAD free user, you can access functionalities reserved to subscribing users:
- cartographic search at the level of the city of publication,
- advanced search with 17 indexes, notably by type of open access resource, instead of the basic 4 indexes available for free users,
- complete ISSN records, because these records describe and give access to open access resources.
[See also section 3.3. How to use the advanced search?]
ISSN Portal (as a subscribing user)
ROAD (as a free user)
Advanced, expert or refined search by indexing service (field 510)
Simple search by indexing service (index “All”)
Expert search & Browse search
Links to other records with the same publisher, subject, or coverage on ISSN records
ISSN-L record complete data view
ISSN records are enriched by information extracted from indexing and abstracting databases, directories (DOAJ, Latindex, The Keepers registry) and journals indicators (Scopus). [See the list of Data Sources: https://portal.issn.org/node/91]
ISSN numbers are used as a matching key linking ISSN records with metadata related to their coverage by abstracting/indexing services or bibliometrics. External data give a quality insight on scholarly resources in ROAD, as the scholarly resources are indexed, evaluated and selected for their compliancy with some criteria set upon metrics, ethics and the preservation programs engaged.
Bibliometrics (impact factors) as well as indexing and abstracting services or external directories are mentioned on ISSN records if the case occurs.