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Open Access

What is Open Access?

There are many ways to define open access, but here is the definition given by the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
"By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."

Gold or Green?

  • Gold Open Access refers to OA provided by journals. Some journals require authors to pay an Article-Processing Charge (APC). Journals that do not charge an APC are sometimes referred to as "platinum" or "diamond" Open Access.
  • Green Open Access or self-archiving refers to OA provided by disciplinary or institutional repositories.
  • Hybrid journals are subscription journals that give the authors the option of making their article Open Access, usually by paying an APC. Some funders (e.g. Swiss National Science Foundation) do not cover the APCs in hybrid journals. The Plan S funders do not support this type of publishing.
  • Bronze Open Access is used for articles that are only made freely available on the publisher's website without an explicit open licence and may therefore lose their OA status at a later date.

History of Open Access

The Open Access movement was born out of the serials crisis, and the development of the World Wide Web, which made it technically easier to disseminate academic publications. Physicists and computer scientists led the way with the creation of arXiv, a preprint repository, in 1991. In the 2000s, the OA movement was formalised by 3 major declarations, and the number of OA publications has increased significantly.

OA Glossary

  • Preprint: before peer review (also known as "author's original manuscript", "submitted version", "original manuscript")
  • Author's accepted manuscript (AAM): after peer review (also known as "author's accepted version", postprint)
  • Publisher's version or version of record (VoR) : with the layout
  • Embargo: the period of time during which access to the article is restricted.