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Open Access : Types of OA

The purpose of this guide to help students at Independent College Dublin understand what Open Access is, how it is changing the way we publish and consume knowledge, and where they might find Open Access resources related to their subject.

Green vs. Gold open access

Gold OA makes the final version of an article freely and permanently accessible for everyone, immediately after publication. Copyright for the article is retained by the authors and most of the permission barriers are removed. Gold OA articles can be published either in fully OA journals (where all the content is published OA) or hybrid journals (a subscription-based journal that offers an OA option which authors can chose if they wish). An overview of fully OA journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Green OA, also referred to as self-archiving, is the practice of placing a version of an author’s manuscript into a repository, making it freely accessible for everyone. The version that can be deposited into a repository is dependent on the funder or publisher. Unlike Gold OA the copyright for these articles usually sits with the publisher of, or the society affiliated with, the title and there are restrictions as to how the work can be reused. There are individual self-archiving policies by journal or publisher that determine the terms and conditions e.g. which article version may be used and when the article can be made openly accessible in the repository (also called an embargo period). A list of publishers’ self-archiving policies can be found on the SHERPA/RoMEO database.