The key takeaways from this article are:

  1. Open access generally distinguishes between gold open access and green open access.
  2. Gold open access refers to the open access first publication in journals, monographs, or as a contribution to collections. These texts usually undergo the same quality assurance process as closed access works.
  3. Green open access (also known als “self archiving”) refers to making a work published with a publisher available in an institutional or disciplinary repository. It is sometimes understood to refer also to making such a work available on the author’s personal website.

Open Access Strategies

Gold Open Access

Open access publishing – also known as 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. These texts usually undergo the same quality assurance process as closed access works, mostly in the form of peer review or editorial review. As a rule, a publishing agreement is concluded with the publisher. It specifies the rights of use that the author grants to the publisher, and the conditions of use that shall apply to the open access documents. Such agreements are often supplemented with an open access publication licence under which the authors can grant users more extensive and precisely specified rights. 

Financing

Both open access and closed access publications have to be financed. The options for financing open access publications are comparable with those used to finance closed access publications: sales of printed copies; unpaid support from the scientific community, scientific institutions, and volunteers; and advertising or sponsoring. Sometimes cross-financing also occurs. In particular, commercial publishers that want to try out the gold open access business model finance new journals with revenue from their subscriptions business. Although publication fees, or article processing charges (APCs; in the case of monographs, book processing charges, BPCs), are sometimes cited as a typical gold open access financing model, they are also widespread in closed access publishing (Gutknecht, 2018). APCs are payable per accepted and published article, and can be combined with institutional memberships. If publishing authors belong to an institution that has an institutional membership with an open access publisher, that institution will cover the publication fees in full or in part. In addition, many institutions provide further possibilities of reimbursement of these costs, for example, via publication funds.

Translation from the German of the graphic “Wissenschaftliches Publizieren (Closed Access) [Scholarly Publishing: (Closed Access)]”. (CC BY 4.0 International)
Source: Oberländer, Anja (2020). Open Access – Es ist nicht alles Gold, was glänzt. In: Open Science. Von Daten zu Publikationen. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4018594

Translation from the German of the graphic “Wissenschaftliches Publizieren: Goldener Weg [Scholarly Publishing: Gold Open Access]”. (CC BY 4.0 International)
Source: Oberländer, Anja (2020). Open Access – Es ist nicht alles Gold, was glänzt. In: Open Science. Von Daten zu Publikationen. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4018594

Green Open Access

Green open access – also known as “self-archiving” – refers to making a work published with a publisher available to the public in an institutional or disciplinary open access repository. It is sometimes understood to refer also to making such a work 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.

A preprint is a scholarly publication that has not (yet) undergone peer review, which means that the quality of the work has not yet been conclusively assessed. The manuscript version of a text submitted for publication to a journal or a publisher is sometimes also referred to as a preprint.

In contrast to a preprint, a post-print is a text that has already undergone peer review and has been accepted for publication. There are two types of post-prints. On the one hand, a post-print may be completely identical with the publisher's version, or the version of record. On the other hand, the content may be the same but the formatting, layout, or pagination may be different. In the latter case, the post-print is referred to as the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) version. The willingness of publishers to allow self-archiving of post-prints or preprints varies considerably. The Sherpa Romeo database provides an overview of the rights that publishers grant their authors in this regard. Under German copyright law, authors are allowed under certain conditions to make post-prints available to the public. This is known as the Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht.

Variants of Green Open Access

In discussions on open access, three ways of providing green open access are distinguished. First, the works can be made available in institutional repositories. In this case, authors have the possibility of depositing their scientific texts on a trans-disciplinary document server operated by their institution (e.g., university). Second, the works may be made available in disciplinary repositories – that is, repositories that host output from a particular subject area (e.g., a specialist discipline), irrespective of the institutions to which the authors belong. A third variant is to deposit scholarly documents on one’s own personal website. However, this approach means that the deposited documents are not, as a rule, as visible as they would be if they were archived in an institutional or disciplinary repository. Moreover, their long-term availability is not assured, which is why this type of self-archiving is often not recognised as open access. This is the case, for example, in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.

A list of open access repositories can be found in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and in the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR).

Translation from the German of the graphic “Wissenschaftliches Publizieren: Grüner Weg (Postprint) [Scholarly Publishing: Green Open Access (Post-Print)]”. (CC BY 4.0 International).
Source: Oberländer, Anja (2020). Open Access – Es ist nicht alles Gold, was glänzt. In: Open Science. Von Daten zu Publikationen. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4018594

Middle Ways

There are also gradual intermediate positions between gold and green open access. For example, the social science repository Social Science Research Network (SSRN) allows authors both to make their already published journal articles available in open access and to post and share the preprint versions of their manuscripts and submit them to SSRN partner journals. The epijournals, or “overlay journals” (Gowers, 2015), in mathematics are another example. These are open access journals that use the infrastructure of preprint servers or repositories. Authors deposit the preprint versions of their manuscripts in arXiv or Hyper Articles en Ligne (HAL) and then submit them for publication to one of the epijournals. If a submission is accepted after peer review, the original preprint version continues to remain available alongside the publisher’s version. Some Copernicus Publications and F1000 journals operate according to a similar principle, with open peer review. Closed access publishers use arXiv in a similar way by enabling manuscripts deposited there to be automatically ingested into their own submission workflows. Depositing a preprint of an article in an open access repository before publishing it with a publisher has characteristics of gold and green open access. Publishing documents such as dissertations or publication series for the first time in a repository is also a kind of hybrid form of gold and green open access. Because the works are being published for the first time, the publication can be regarded as gold open access. However, publication takes place in repositories, which are normally used to provide green open access to works.

Besides green and gold open access publications, other variants are sometimes assigned colour symbols, too (Piwowar et al., 2018; Schmeja, 2018). These publications may not be open access in the strict sense, for example, when a journal article can be read free of charge but is not reusable in the long term.

References

Gowers, T. (2015, September 10). Discrete Analysis - an arXiv overlay journal. Gowers’s Weblog. https://gowers.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/discrete-analysis-an-arxiv-overlay-journal/

Gutknecht, C. (2018, January 8). Publikationskosten für Closed-Access: die verschwiegenen APCs. Wisspub.net. https://wisspub.net/2018/01/08/apcs-von-denen-fast-niemand-spricht/

Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., Farley, A., West, J., & Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4375

Schmeja, S. (2018, October 24). Gold, Grün, Bronze, Blau...: Die Open-Access-Farbenlehre. TIB-Blog. https://blogs.tib.eu/wp/tib/2018/10/24/gold-gruen-bronze-blau-die-open-access-farbenlehre/