Many people have questions about open access and all of the jargon people use when talking about it. We’ve provided the glossary below to help explain common terms associated with open access.
Article processing charge (APC): The fee paid to a publisher to make the article freely accessible from the time of publication. This may apply to journals which are 100% open access or to journals that allow authors to pay a fee to make their article open access even though the rest of that journal’s articles are toll-access. Not all journals have APCs; according to the Directory of Open Access Journals, it’s less than half.
Creative Commons: A nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for creators to share their work and to build upon the work of others. They offer a range of free copyright licenses which can be added to a creative or scholarly work to inform others of allowed uses for that work. The CC-BY license is a Creative Commons license. This license states that you can share, copy, distribute, transmit, and remix a work (including for commercial purposes) as long as you attribute the work to its original creator. Other license options are available at http://creativecommons.org/
Embargo period: Some publishers only permit Green OA after a specified embargo period, typically 6-12 months. Other publishers will allow the version of record (publisher PDF) to be made freely available, either by the author or on the publisher platform, after an embargo period.
Gold OA: Making an article immediately open access through a publisher platform. To cover costs of publication, publishers sometimes charge a fee, called the Article Processing Charge. The version made openly available is the version of record, also called the publisher’s final formatted version (the PDF).
Green OA: Also called self-archiving, Green OA involves archiving a paper in an institutional repository like UT Digital Repository, or a funder-designated repository like PubMed Central. Archiving may be done by the author, the publisher, or another entity such as the university library. Generally the version of the paper being archived is the author’s final version after peer-review, also called the post-print.
Hybrid journals: Journals which are primarily toll-access, but which allow authors to pay a fee to make their article freely accessible from the time of publication.
Institutional repositories: An online database that archives, in digital format, the scholarly output of an institution and makes that output freely available. Authors who choose to make their work accessible via the Green OA route may use institutional repositories to post their work online. This is generally a free service to users and many times uploading assistance is available. UT Digital Repository: http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu
Open access (OA): Providing unrestricted, free, online access to peer reviewed and published scholarly research papers.
Open access policy: A policy stating that all published works from an entity (sometimes a funding agency like NIH and sometimes a university or sub-unit of a university) are to be made freely accessible online. Generally the works are intended to be open access from the time of publication, but embargo periods are sometimes included as part of the policy. A waiver to opt out of the requirement is occasionally an option.
Post-print: The version of an article after edits from peer review but before final publisher copyediting and conversion to PDF. Sometimes referred to as the final accepted version or the author’s manuscript.
Pre-print: The version of an article before it undergoes peer review. Sometimes referred to as the submitted version. One popular pre-print repository is http://arXiv.org.
Sherpa/Romeo: A searchable database of publisher copyright policies and policies on self-archiving. http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/
Toll-access: The traditional model of journal publishing. The cost of publishing is free to the author, and instead the subscribers pay a fee. For academic journals, the subscriber is quite frequently the university library.
This glossary was based on definitions from Open Access Oxford, University of Illinois, and SPARC.