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InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

Open Access


“Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions...The basic idea of OA is simple: Make research literature available online without price barriers and without most permission barriers.”

 – Peter Suber, Open Access

What is Open Access?

Typically, there are two methods of achieving open access: self-archiving in an institutional repository (“Green OA”) and journal publishing (“Gold OA”). Open access relates to the free availability of research literature and does not determine whether an article is peer-reviewed. Peer-review is conducted by a journal's editorial board, not a repository.

“Green OA” occurs when authors make copies of their work freely available in an institutional repository or online archive. Example repositories include arXivPubMed, and Pepperdine Digital Commons. Self-archived works may be preprints (submitted for peer-review), postprints (post peer-review), or the final article (formatted for publication).

Scholarly articles and journals that are not open access require costly subscription or article fees, which the library pays to provide users access. While open access provides free access to researchers, publishing costs are often shifted to authors in "Gold OA". Less than 50% of open access journals charge fees (sometimes referred to as article processing costs or APCs), which may be covered by sponsorships, authors’ institutions, or grants.

A few defining statements on Open Access:
Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002)
Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003)
Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003)

Common OA Terms

Addendum - attached to publication or copyright transfer agreements requesting additional author rights beyond those already granted by the publisher.

APC - Article processing cost, also article publication fee. "A fee charged by some OA journals when accepting an article for publication in order to cover costs of production. While the bill goes to the author, the fee is usually paid by the author's funder or employer, not by the author out of pocket." - Suber, Open Access (2013)176.

Bronze OA : Articles that are free-to-read on a publisher's website, but lack an Open license (Piwowar et al. 2018)

Creative Commons - a nonprofit organization that creates licenses under which works are distributed with reuse permissions granted upfront.

Gold OA - OA published by journals

Green OA  OA published by repositories, self-archiving

Hybrid OA - article-level OA in traditional non-OA subscription access journals

Postprint - also known as the author's final version, this version incorporates all changes from peer review,
but it has not yet been copyedited and formatted for publication.

Preprint - version of a scholarly work submitted for peer review including only the original work of the author(s). 

Repository - An online database of OA works. Repositories don’t perform peer-review, but they may host articles that have been peer-reviewed elsewhere. They frequently host preprints that have yet to be peer-reviewed, electronic theses and dissertations, books or book chapters, datasets, and digitized print works from the institution’s library. Institutional repositories aim to host the research output of an institution. - Peter Suber, Open Access (2013), 176.

Additional Open Access Guides

This guide was adapted from Wake Forest's Open Access guide (CC-BY-NC Molly Keener), UCLA's Open Access guide, and Boston College's Open Access and Scholarly Publishing guide (CC BY John O'Connor).