Open access (OA) is a publishing movement aimed at making research freely available online.
When research is fully open access, it is free for the public to access, read, download, copy, share, or use for any other lawful purpose. This approach to open access was established in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) and Berlin Declaration (2003).
In general, we say that any research that is free to read online is open access. There are different subtypes of open access, including Gold OA and Green OA:
Diamond Open Access refers to journals that are free for readers to access and free for authors to publish in.
Unlike the Gold (publisher) and Green (repository) routes to open access, Diamond journals don’t require any article processing charges (APCs) paid by authors or subscription fees paid by libraries to fund the costs of publishing.
Diamond journals leverage their research community and volunteers, and are usually funded by universities, governments, societies, or associations to make the research they publish freely available online.
Other names used for Diamond Open Access include community-driven open access, scholar-led open access, non-commercial open access, cooperative open access, free to read and publish, and institutionally supported open access journals.
A recent report commissioned by cOAlition S explored the huge global range of Diamond open access journals.
Green OA, also called the 'author self-archiving' model, involves making an approved version of a publication openly accessible in a repository, such as Deakin Research Online (DRO).
Most journals allow the author's accepted manuscript (or pre-print) of an article to be made OA in a repository, often after an embargo period. Book publishers tend to have more restrictive policies and often do not allow Green OA deposit.
For more on OA in DRO, see "Making your research open access: Depositing for Green OA"
Gold OA is when research is available as open access immediately from the publisher. Authors usually retain copyright and the publisher may licence the work under a Creative Commons licence.
This model often requires the researcher, institution, or funding body pay a fee to the publisher in exchange for making it open access.
For more on Gold OA, see "Making your research open access: Publishing Gold OA"
There are many benefits to making your work open access, including:
Green OA through DRO, the Deakin repository, is free. About 74% of journals allow open access deposit of either the author's accepted manuscript or the publisher's PDF.
Gold OA publishing can be expensive, particularly in 'hybrid' journals. Most fully OA journals, however, do not levy article processing charges (APCs), being supported by universities or not-for-profit societies. APCs also vary greatly between journals and publishers.
Like traditional journals, OA journals can be peer reviewed or not. About 98% of the OA journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) are peer reviewed, with over 50% being double-blind peer reviewed. Check the journal's website or their listing in DOAJ if you are unsure of a journal's practices.
For Green OA, Deakin requires deposit of the accepted manuscript. This is the author's version of the paper after revisions, but before the publisher's final copyediting and typesetting.
Although many fully OA journals are relatively new, there are highly-ranked journals in most disciplines. For example, the Scimago Journal Rankings list many Q1 open access journals of high impact.
Vanity presses and other questionable publishing practices predate the OA movement. Many predatory publishers do present themselves as OA journals, but this does not mean that most OA journals are predatory.
When evaluating OA journals, check the journal's entry in DOAJ, which has high quality control standards. As with any journal, it is important to think through your options: Think, Check, Submit. For more about evaluating predatory journals, see "Predatory journals: no definition, no defence" (Grudniewicz et al. 2019).
This is incorrect. Most OA journals let authors retain copyright over their work. Traditional journals, however, usually require authors to sign over their copyright.
OA journals usually publish under Creative Commons licences, which grant the public certain rights to read, use and share the work. Creative Commons licences do not impact copyright.
At Deakin, the DRO team checks copyright and publisher policies before making anything OA. DRO complies with embargo periods and other publisher conditions.