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List of Free Journals

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There are many free journals that serve as sources of high-quality “do-it-yourself” professional development. These journals are online-only, for the most part (no international postage! no dead trees!), but many of them attract big-name contributors. The journals present a mix of scholarly research, useful reviews, passionate essays, and practical classroom techniques. Academic research, the bulk of the entries in most of the journals, has a bad rap with some classroom teachers, but this research is generally done for a practical reason (usually, to find out the best ways that people learn). You may find yourself motivated to try adapting a teaching strategy that was written up in a research study, so try some of those articles out.

You can search most of the journals for topics in which you’re interested, or you can browse issues and read only the articles that intrigue you. The PDF versions of these articles can be downloaded to laptops, smartphones, and so on, to be read during your commute. Of course, you can also print the articles, and the PDF version will preserve the original formatting so that they look good. (OS X’s Preview will even read it aloud to you while you do something else, in a robotic fashion. And by the way, if you’re using Firefox on a Mac and want to read these PDFs in your browser instead of saving each one to your computer, this Firefox addon is very helpful.)

These journals are also a good place to submit your own research or other writing for publication. Check each site’s “Submissions” page for information and rules. All journals are in English unless stated otherwise.

In addition, the Education Research Global Observatory hosts a “Directory of Open Access Journals in the Field of Education”, featuring a huge, international list of scholarly, peer-reviewed, free journals. There is a different, multidiscipline Directory of Open Access Journals with Education, Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics sections.

The Social Science Research Network is an interesting way to look at new and emerging research; it shares works in progress, but these papers have not been peer-reviewed, and may be revised or removed at any time. There is no education or applied linguistics section, so using the search function is the best way to find relevant work.

Virtually no journals provide an RSS feed (I only saw one at LJTR). That means that you need to remember a journal’s publishing schedule or remember to drop by periodically. However, if the journal has a single URL they use to publish new material (e.g. http://www.readingmatrix.com/current.html), you can add that URL to a service such as Page2RSS. That will make an RSS feed that you can add to Google Reader, which will update itself when the page is updated. (I just keep Google Reader open in a tab at all times, with all of my favorite English-teaching blogs, webcomics, etc., in there so that I don't miss anything or waste time loading pages that I've already read.)

This page does not include free online magazine-style publications. A separate page for those is in the works.

This page was current when last edited, but journals sometimes close, move their websites, or slightly change their URLs. If you notice a problem, or know of another free TESOL-related journal, please send me a note or message me on Twitter. Thanks to Darren Elliott of livesofteachers.com for suggesting several I had missed.