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About Open Access – University of Reading

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About Open Access

Definition

Open Access is the free and unrestricted online access to publications. In general a user must be able to do the following free of any publisher-imposed access charge:

  • Read the published research paper in electronic format
  • Search for and re-use the content of published papers provided re-use is subject to proper attribution

The term and basic tenets of Open Access were articulated in 2002 in the Budapest Open Access Initiative

Green and Gold Open Access

There are two main routes to achieving Open Access:

Gold Open Access: the published article is made available freely and immediately on the journal website, by the publisher. The author may be required to pay an Open Access fee, known as an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher.

Green Open Access: the author deposits ('self-archives') articles accepted for publication in an institutional repository such as CentAUR, or in a subject repository. It is usually the author's own final version, after peer review, and as accepted for publication. Publishers may impose an embargo period between publication and archiving in a repository. 

Open Access journal models

There are a range of different business models for Gold Open Access journal publication. The main ones are:

Open Access Journals

All articles are Open Access and are funded entirely by Article Processing Charge (APCs), other subsidies or sustained through significant levels of voluntary work. Many are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Reputable Open Access journals operate high quality editorial and peer review processes and are likely to be members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA).

New Open Access journals are set up each year and it can be difficult to know which to trust. Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. Use the checklist to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Hybrid Journals

These are subscription journals in which individual articles can be made Open Access on the journal’s website immediately, through payment of an APC. It is hoped that the cost of subscriptions will fall as APC income rises, but until this happens institutions will pay twice, both to publish and to read articles.

More about Open Access

Sources for identifying suitable OA Journals

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