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Open Access: The Basics

Open Access is a relatively new idea in publishing but what is it really? This guide is designed to offer basic information so that the UIW community can make informed decisions.

Open Access - Quick Definition

"Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research."

- from SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

What's Happening in OA?

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Open Access Explained

Video by Jorge Cham (PHD Comics) featuring narration by Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen.

Publishing Models

  • Green - an article is published in a subscription based journal and a copy of the article (usually a pre-print or a post-print) is made available in an open repository (sometimes called parallel publishing or self-archiving)
  • Gold - an article is published in an open access journal
  • Hybrid - subscription based journals with some individual open access articles (definition of open access may vary according to publisher)
  • Delayed - subscription based journal provides open access after an embargo period following publication (embargo can vary from months to years) - not always considered open

Some Vocabulary

Article Processing Charge: A fee sometimes charged to an author for publication.  Also called a publication fee or APC.

Author Rights: The rights retained by the author when entering a contractual agreement with the publisher.

Creative Commons: A non-profit organization "that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools." (Creative Commons FAQ)

Embargo: The time between a work's publication and the time when it is available.

Post-print: The article that has been accepted and revised/edited/peer reviewed, but not the published version.  It does not have the publisher's formatting.  Also called the final accepted manuscript or author accepted manuscript.

Pre-print: The article before revisions/edits/peer review.  Also called the submitted version.

Publisher's Print: The final published article with all the formatting and edits/revisions/peer review.

Repository:  A place where copies (such as pre or post prints) can be stored for preservation and to provide open access.

Beyond Publishing

Open Data: Online research data (not just the reports) that are open and available to all (anyone can download, copy, re-process, etc.).

Open Education Resources: Online material designed for teaching that is openly licensed (free to use and even remix).  Also referred to as OER.

Open Science: Movement to increase transparency in research (the entire research lifecycle) and make it free and open to all.

Open Source: Source code that is free for anyone to use, distribute, and/or remix.
Staff LADR