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Open access: What is open access?

Different forms of open access

Open access (OA) means that scientific publications are freely available online, allowing them to be read, distributed, used, copied, printed, and linked to without cost. This promotes the dissemination of research results both within the scholarly community and to the public.

There are three main types of OA publishing:

  1. Gold OA = full OA: publication in a journal where all articles are openly available. The journal can be read free of charge by everyone, but some journals charge the researcher/researcher's department an article processing charge (APC) for publishing OA.
    • Diamond OA: full OA journal completely free of charge (all articles are published openly without charges)
  2. Hybrid OA: the author can choose to pay an APC to make an article openly accessible in a journal whose articles are not otherwise open. Hybrid OA was previously considered a form of gold OA, but nowadays gold OA is generally synonymous with full OA.
        ÅAU researchers can publish completely free of charge or with a discount on the APC with many publishers, read more here.
  3. Green OA = parallel publishing, self-archiving: the author makes a version of their article (which is primarily published elsewhere) available in an open archive/repository. At Åbo Akademi University, self-archiving is done in the research information system AboCRIS.
    • Green OA is an equivalent alternative to OA as gold OA.
    • Most subscription journals allow parallel publishing, but some have embargo periods and other restrictions, read more here. Check different journal policies with Sherpa/Romeo.
    • Parallel publishing in AboCRIS is also done when the article has been published OA, since gold OA always needs to be combined with green OA! This ensures long-term archiving.


Preprints: Sharing preprints, i.e., versions of articles that have not yet undergone peer review, is important for accelerating the dissemination of research, but does not meet, for example, the Ministry of Education and Culture's definition of OA, read more here.

Picture: Foster Open Science (PASTEUR4OA)


This guide by Åbo Akademi University Library is licensed under CC BY 4.0