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Scholarly Publishing

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives (SPARC).

Types of Open Access

Publishers participating in open access may utilize one of the following models:

  • Gold Open Access - article is published in an open access journal that provides immediate open access to all of its articles on the publisher's website.
  • Hybrid Open Access  - journal provides gold open access only for those individual articles for which an open access publishing fee has been paid. The article still undergoes the peer review process used by the journal.
  • Green Open Access - the author archives a version of their work in an open access repository, irrespective of where it is finally published. After publication, author self-archives a version (peer-reviewed postprint) of the article for free public use in their institutional repository (IR), in a central repository (e.g., PubMed Central), or on some other open access website.

Gratis vs. Libre

  • Gratis OA is information that is available free of charge, while some copyright and licensing restrictions may still apply.
  • Libre OA is information that is free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restriction.

Note: While 'free' implies that the information does not cost anything to access, remember that OA publishing still often involves a cost to the author to publish the work.

Open Access Policies and Funding Agency Compliance

Directories of open access policies for journals and research funders open access requirements: