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Open Access Publishing

Information and guidance about open access scholarly publishing for researchers in all disciplines.

Defining Open Access

Open access literature is defined as “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” The recommendations of the Budapest Open Access Declaration—including the use of liberal licensing (such as CC BY)— is widely recognized in the community as a means to make a work truly open access. - Creative Commons


At it’s most fundamental Open Access is when publications are freely available online to all at no cost, and with limited restrictions with regards reuse. The unrestricted distribution of research is especially important for authors (as their work gets seen by more people), readers (as they can access and build on the most recent work in the field) and funders (as the work they fund has broader impact by being able to reach a wider audience).

While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. For more information, see Peter Suber's Open Access Overview:

Types of Open Access

In general, there are two streams of Open Access Publishing, Gold and Green.

  • Gold OA makes the final version of an article freely and permanently accessible for everyone, immediately after publication. Copyright for the article is retained by the authors and most of the permission barriers are removed. In true Gold OA, all of the content in a journal is open access.
  • Green OA, also referred to as self-archiving, is the practice of placing a version of an author’s manuscript into a repository, making it freely accessible for everyone. The version that can be deposited into a repository is dependent on the funder or publisher. Unlike Gold OA the author does not retain copyright and there are restrictions as to how the work can be reused. Individual publisher/journal self-archiving policies determine the terms and conditions, including which article version may be used and when the article can be made openly accessible in the repository.
  • Hybrid journals. Some publishers offer an open access option in subscription-based journals in which authors can choose to publish open access if they wish. In hybrid journals, copyright is typically transferred to the journal/publisher.