Open Access (OA) Models: Terminology Alert!

Open Access is

  • Gratis OA: removes price barriers
  • Libre OA: removes both price and permission barriers

There are no ‘free lunches’ provided anywhere in the world…there is a hidden agenda….there are always strings attached!

Someone has to pay!

In the scholarly cycle one of the stakeholders listed below have to pay to ensure article reaches other authors/researchers/scholars/scientists/ interested parties!

  • Author/Researcher/Scholar
  • Institution
  • Funding Agency
  • Philanthropist
  • Government
  • Publisher
  • Subscribers/Users
  • Libraries

Traditionally commercial publisher invited authors to submit their articles to be published in their journals and extended services like proofread, typesetted, copy edited, sent for peer review, published/printed, and globally distributed and marketed on behalf of author. All the profits accrued were enjoyed by the publisher justified by him for his publishing efforts and services rendered. Only those who were highly celebrated authors/researchers/scholars whose work sold received a royalty amount for their work.

If the author wanted to publish an article – he/she had to pay to publisher for his services to get it published. The publisher ensured there was no contention in future for author to demand remuneration for his/her work incase it was well received so publisher introduced a copyright form which author has to sign to waive of his rights of his/her intellectual property to benefit the publisher.

The publisher introduced various models for publication.

Types/Kinds/Models of Open Access

  • Gold OA where the author pays publisher as APC (article processing charge) and the work is made available immediately. The author directly pays or the funding agency covers it (usually the author budgets the publication fees in their applications for funds).
  • Colors of Open Access depending on archival policies
    • green are preprint or post print (publisher’s version/PDF) of journal articles are hosted in digital repositories or online archives free for all to access
    • blue can archive post-print after refereeing or publisher’s version/PDF
    • yellow can archive pre-print draft before refereeing
    • white where archiving is not formally supported
    • black also called guerrilla where illegal paywalled article copies from academic social networks or pirate sites can be accessed and is said to be disruptive form of OA
  • Platinum OA where the publishers depend on funding by foundations, non profits, etc. and do not charge authors APC but allow them to retain copyright of their work; and also to share and reuse provided its cited. “Diamond OA”; “Universal Access”; “Universal OA” are other terms synonomously used for Platinum OA.
  • Hybrid OA where a commercial publisher publishes free articles (where author signed away copyright) and paid articles (where author pays to make his/her article free for all) are published in same volume/issue.
  • Wondering if a ‘Unique OA’ model can be established where all stakeholders (authors, institutions, subscribers/users, government, funding agencies, philanthropist, publishers, libraries) pay a percentage of charges to make it a viable model.


Click to access Nottingham-colour-guide.pdf

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