This page includes a glossary of terms used within the Open Access Journals Toolkit and is relevant to open access more widely. While viewpoints may vary, these definitions are in alignment with those presented by the Open Access Network
This page includes a glossary of terms used within the Open Access Journals Toolkit and is relevant to open access more widely. While viewpoints may vary, these definitions are in alignment with those presented by the Open Access Network

Article processing charges are publication fees charged by open access journals. Article processing charges are payable to the publisher by the author(s) or their institution/employer after the article has undergone peer review and been accepted for publication.

The version of a scholarly output that may be substantively the same as the publisher’s version but differ, for example, in terms of formatting, layout, or pagination.

The non-profit organisation Creative Commons has made several copyright licences, known as Creative Commons licences, freely available to the public for use. The licences are widely used and easily understandable. They also offer a high degree of flexibility by virtue of the fact that they can be assembled from four combinable licence elements:

  • BY – Attribution: The name of the creator must be provided and where technically possible a link to the original material and the CC licence.
  • ND – No Derivatives: The work may be modified, but the modified version may not be distributed.
  • A – Share Alike: The work may be modified, but the modified version may be distributed only under the same licence as the original.
  • NC –Non-Commercial: The material may be used only for non-commercial purposes.

This model, which is also known as platinum open access or diamond open access, is a variant of gold open access. Under diamond open access, journals function without article processing charges. Rather, the journal is financed from institutional funds, by funding agencies or, for example, by library consortia in which various libraries come together.

An embargo period is a time delay after which publishers allow authors to make the full texts of their publications available to the public in a repository (green open access). The length of the embargo period is at the discretion of the publisher. In the case of journals, it is usually between 6 and 12 months, and sometimes even 24 months.

Funder mandates obligate grant recipients to provide open access to the published results that they fund. In some cases, funders lay down very concrete guidelines for the implementation of these guidelines.

Gold open access refers to the publication of scholarly works as articles in open access journals, as open access monographs, or as contributions to open access collections or conference proceedings. As a rule, these texts undergo the same quality assurance process as closed access works, mostly in the form of peer review or editorial review.

Green open access – also known as self-archiving – refers to making works published with a publisher or in a journal available to the public in a repository. It is sometimes understood to refer also to making such works available on the author’s personal website. Self-archiving can take place at the same time as the publication of the content by the publisher or at a later date, and is possible for preprints and post-prints of scholarly articles, as well as for other document types, for example, monographs, research reports, and conference proceedings.

Under hybrid open access models, publishers obtain revenue from two sources at the same time: from journal subscriptions and from the additional open access charges. In contrast to “genuine” open access, the entire journal is not freely accessible, but rather authors pay article processing charges (APCs) to “buy” the freedom of individual articles.

The Budapest Open Access Initiative defines open access as follows: “By open access to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public inter­net, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

A repository is a document server at a university or a research institution on which scholarly materials are archived and made available to the public worldwide on a long-term basis. Two types of repositories are distinguished: institutional repositories (operated by institutions such as university libraries, other infrastructure organisations, or research organisations) and disciplinary repositories (trans-institutional, thematically bundled, e.g., for a particular discipline).

Traditionally, journals have been funded via subscriptions: publishers publish journals to which interested users subscribe in order to obtain access to the content. In the scholarly context, subscribers are mostly the libraries of scholarly institutions. Rising journal subscription prices in the 1990s led to what became known as the serials crisis. A counter-model to subscription is open access.

In the context of open access, the term transition (or transformation) refers to the complete conversion of the scholarly publication system to open access, inter alia by converting traditional subscription journals into open access journals. Transitional agreements are therefore agreements entered between organisations and publishers which seek to transition the publishing model from a subscription publishing model to fully open access over a specified period of time.

The version of record, or publisher’s version, is the version of a text that has already undergone peer review and been accepted for publication. It is identical with the formally published version of the work (i.e., the version published with a publisher or in a journal).

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