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Open Access

Defining OA Terminology

APC - Article Processing Charge - also called publication fees, APCs are fees charged by publishers in exchange for making an article open access. These usually range from $1,500-$3,000 but may be as high as $5,000. These are the economic model of Gold Open Access, and have been part of ongoing negotiations between universities and publishers. Many universities have created funds to support their faculty in publishing in Open Access. 

Creative Commons - (CC licenses) are a set of licenses that can be applied to your work to grant re-use of your work under specific terms that you choose. These terms can restrict or enable remixing and commercial use of your work. See the Creative Commons website for more information

Diamond OA - also called Platinum Open Access or Universal Open Access, this model combines the openness of Gold OA with the cost of Green OA for a model that assess no cost to the author or the reader while making the article immediately open. This model is usually financed with the support of an academic society or another organization. See this blog post from the Scholarly Kitchen for more about Diamond Open Access publishing. 

Embargo - a period of time after an article's official publication, in which authors must refrain from posting their article to their personal website, institutional repository, or a subject repository. Depending on the publisher and journal, embargo periods range from 6 months-12 months after publication, although some may be as long as two years. Some publishers allow for delayed open access through embargo periods, granting authors the right to post versions of their article after the specified time. Check your author agreement and speak with a librarian about any embargo on your work. 

Eprints - eprints are digital versions of journal articles, meaning either the pre-print or post-print versions. For rights purposes, authors should check with a librarian to see if they have retained the rights to post either version to their website or institutional repository. 

Green OA - allows the author to retain rights to post the pre-peer review version of their article that has been accepted for publication. Green Open Access is the backbone of institutional repositories and subject repositories because it expressly grants authors permissions to deposit pre-prints of their articles in those repositories. 

Gold OA - charges the author a fee (Article Processing Charge) in exchange for making the article open access. This includes journals that are completely open and hybrid journals that have a mix of open articles and articles closed behind paywalls. 

Hybrid Journals - these journals have both open and closed articles, depending on whether the author pays to make an article open. The publishing model of hybrid journals is based on Gold Open Access, which charges authors who wish to have their article publishing in open access an Article Processing Fee. This is in addition to the traditional subscription paid by institutions, meaning that many institutions are paying twice for these articles, once upon publishing and once to access and read. A practice called double dipping, this issue is important to many universities and has been central to negotiations with publishers. 

Institutional Repository - (IRs) - a university or other institution's archive of scholarly work by faculty and students. Based on Green Open Access, which allows authors to deposit or submit their pre-prints to their institutional repository. IRs may also hold post-prints and publisher's versions of articles depending on publisher permissions, in addition to grey literature including white papers and conference presentations. The infrastructure of institutional repositories is usually supported by Information Technology, the library, or more commonly, the two working in partnership. 

Open Access - the principle that scholarly work should be made freely and openly available. In practice, several models have emerged to make Open Access financially viable. See Economics of OA for more information on how publishers make journals open access, and who pays for it

Open Data - related to open access as its larger umbrella movement, Open Data is the principle of making data freely available and open to re-use without restrictions. This excludes data or parts of data that should remain closed for participant confidentiality or other ethical imperatives, and there are concerns tied to re-use of data out of its original context. Learn more about open data at the Open Data Handbook. Also see for information on the U.S. federal government's open data

OER - Open Educational Resources are textbooks and other educational resources that cost little or nothing to students, developed as a response to the rising cost of traditional textbooks. To find Open Educational Resources, see EDUCAUSE and Open Education Commons. For faculty looking to create Open Educational Resources, read more at the Open Educational Consortium

Post-print - the version of an article that has gone through peer review, but is not in its final version including layout. 

Pre-print - the version of an article submitted to and accepted by a journal,  copy-editing, formatting and layout, and peer review. Journals with Green Open Access policies allow for the submission of this version to an institutional repository, or posting to personal and institutional websites. See Sherpa Romeo for more details

Publisher's version - usually in PDF file format, this is the version of an article that appears in final published issues of a journal. It includes changes to the article based on peer review, and includes copyediting and is set in the publisher layout. Authors and their institutions are often not allowed to post the publisher's version/PDF due to publisher policies citing the intellectual contributions of journal editors, reviewers, and staff. Check with a librarian or look up the journal in Sherpa Romeo for the policy on posting publisher's version

Scholarly Communication - the cyclical processes by which knowledge is explored, reviewed, and disseminated - a lifecycle spanning data collection and research, authoring, peer review, publication, dissemination. Includes both formal (scholarly journals and monographs) and informal (blogs, social media) forms of communication and the study of those processes through bibliometrics. 

Subject repositories - online archives of articles in their pre-print form where authors may deposit their work by discipline (also disciplinary repositories). See Sherpa's Directory of Open Access Repositories. is an established subject repository for pre-prints in mathematics, physics, computer science and other disciplines. 

Version of Record - (see also Publisher's version/PDF)