What is meant by the term Open Access:

  • Open access is free, unrestricted online access to the outputs of research.
  • Open access material can be in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers, theses, scholarly monographs and research data.
  • If a journal article or other research output is open access it means that, by the consent of the author or copyright-holder, it can be freely accessed using an internet connection.

Routes to Open Access:

There are two main ways by which Open Access can be achieved, commonly known as Green and Gold Open Access.

Green Route (also known as Self Archiving):

A version of the published research paper as accepted for publication including all changes resulting from peer review, is archived and made accessible in an online repository (often an institutional or subject repository).  The journal's publisher may specify an embargo period before the output can be made openly available by the repository. There is no fee associated with this.

Gold Open Access

Access to the published research paper is provided by the publisher via the journal's own website immediately at the time of on-line publication.  This may involve payment of an 'Article Processing Charge' (APC) to the publisher.

There are two types of Gold Open Access publishing:

a.  The publisher operates a subscription model for the journal but also offers an Open Access option for individual articles (usually on payment of an APC).  This is often known as a hybrid journal.  

b.  Open Access journal.  This means that the publisher does not use the subscription model and all articles are published Open Access.

To find more open access repositories see the Directory of Open Access Repositories (openDOAR) which lists known repositories worldwide.

You may also come across two other ways of describing Open Access:

Gratis - the publication is free to read.

Libre - the publication is free to read and the copyright holder (usually the author or publisher) allows certain re-use rights.