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Open Access: Define OA

What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access can make research publications available online to read for free, so that anyone can use it without fee. Users are also allowed to create and distribute derivative works based on the original work, as long as proper attribution is given to the authors. Open Access is a significant part of making information and resources more freely available to everyone, in order to encourage creativity and innovation.

The Bethesda Statement (2003) defines open access, where "The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use".

Benefit of OA

The following graphic highlights the numerous benefits of making your work Open Access. [CC-BY Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown]

Open Access Publishing

Publications can be made open access in different ways:

Gold Open Access

  • Publishing your output in a fully open access journal that does not charge subscription fees for reading access. Gold open access journals usually charge a publication fee, also known as an Article Processing Charge (APC). Gold OA is commonly used by commercial publishers and some open access journals.

Green Open Access

  • Publishing in a closed access journal and then self-archive a version of your publication (preprint, postprint, or published version) by depositing it in a trusted open access repository, such as the university's repository. Green OA is often used by authors who cannot afford to pay APCs or who want to make their work available immediately.

Hybrid Open Access

  • Publishing in a traditional subscription journal but allows authors to pay an extra fee (APC) to make their article OA. This model has been criticized for allowing publishers to double-dip by charging both readers and authors for access to the same content.

Bronze Open Access

  • Publishing in which the author is responsible for paying some or all of APCs, in order to make their work freely available online. This publishing mode typically involves making a preprint or manuscript version of the article freely available online, while the final published version may be subject to access restrictions or embargoes. It is often used by journals that do not have the resources to fully support Open Access publishing or by authors who wish to make their work freely available but cannot afford the fees associated with Gold Open Access.