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Glossary of Open Access terms

Open Access is an area rich in terminology.  Some of the most essential terms researchers need to be aware of are listed below:

Article Processing Charge (APC): the publisher charges this fee to make the article openly available

Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM): The final peer reviewed version of a manuscript which has been accepted for publication but not yet formatted to look like the finished output.  This is often the latest version which an author owns the copyright to.  

Embargo Period:  The length of time authors must wait before they can make their work openly available.  This is commonly imposed by publishers when authors are looking to make work available via Green Open Access.

Green Open Access: probably the most common type of open access.  This is where an author publishes their research paper and also deposits the paper for free in an open access repository such as Stirling’s own repository - STORRE. Often the journal will stipulate restrictions on the use of the open access version, such as an embargo period or the format of the article. All papers deposited in STORRE take account of publisher embargo periods.

Gold Open Access: (also known as author-pays-publishing or born-open content) is where the researcher (or more commonly their institution) pays an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher for their paper to be made immediately publicly accessible by the publisher on the journal’s website.

Hybrid journal: journals which use the subscription model (articles are only available following payment or subscription by the reader) but also offer authors the option of paying an APC so that their publication is made available immediate and without a fee to readers via the publisher. These journals continue to charge subscription costs to universities. These journals allow publication via the green and gold routes.

Paywall: The mechanism which keeps those who  have not paid either a one-off fee or a subscription from reading research outputs.  Costs can range from hundreds of pounds for a subscription to £30 for single article access.  

Pure open access journals: Some journals such as BioMed Central and PLoS ONE are purely open access journals and never charge the reader to access an article. Instead, charge the author an article processing charge (APC) to publish in the article.

Repository: An online database of research outputs, repositories may be subject or format specific, accept all types of content or be for a specific institutions, e.g., STORRE and DATASTORRE

Version of Record (VOR): Also referred to as the final published version, this is the version of an output which had been edited and typeset by the publisher.  Publishers often exercise copyright over this version as they have put work into it making it suitable for publication.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license by the Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge Universities Libraries.



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