Skip to main content

Open Access

Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

Open Access, as an option for wider dissemination of research, is entirely compatible with and insists on upholding standards of peer review, copyright, quality, prestige and research impact.

  • Gratis OA is information that is available free of charge, while some copyright and licensing restrictions may still apply.
  • Libre OA is information that is free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restriction.
  • While 'free' implies that the information does not cost anything to access, remember that OA publishing still often involves a cost to authors or supporting institutions/societies to publish the work.

Types of Open Access: Green vs. Gold

  Green OA publishing refers to the self-archiving of published or pre-publication works for free public use. Authors provide access to preprints or post-prints (with publisher permission) in an institutional or disciplinary archive such as most Institutional Repositories and arXiv.org.

  Gold OA publishing refers to works published in an open access journal and accessed via the journal or publisher's website. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central. 

From Steven Harnad:

Gold OA journals may cover their costs in one of several ways:

(i) Gold OA journals may simply be subscription journals that make their online version OA

(ii) Gold OA journals may be subsidized journals

(iii) Gold OA journals may be volunteer journals where all parties contribute their resources and services gratis

(iv) Gold OA journals may be hybrid subscription/Gold journals that continue to charge subscriptions for non-OA articles but offer the Gold option for an APC by the individual OA article.

Items ii and iii are sometimes referred to as “Platinum OA” or “Gold/Non-APC”

Benefits of Open Access

Acknowledgements and Appreciation

This Guide was created using resources from Florida International University, Cornell University, Florida State University, Emory University, and Texas Tech.

This guide is a derivative the "Open Access" guide by Camille Thomas, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License by Justin White.

 Creative Commons License