Home » R Discovery » Types of open access publishing and the benefits of each
Types of open access

Types of open access publishing and the benefits of each

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Once upon a time, researchers, academic institutions, or the public in general needed subscriptions to access journal articles. The downside (mostly for the authors) was that getting your research findings to the people who can make use of it meant readers had to pay to access your article, which may sometimes lower the chances of it being accessed or read. Your research paper can have great searchability, but if it isn’t made available under one of the types of open access and cannot be freely accessed, then the chances of it getting citations are pretty small.

This is not about how research was being disseminated centuries ago, when getting the word out was challenging. It is a continuing legacy of traditional pay-walled journals. But today, technology has provided platforms that maximize effective dissemination through various types of open access publishing, which allows readers to access and benefit from the research without delay and with as few restrictions as possible.

The concept of open access publications and initiatives, sometimes referred to as open science, was born to allow free access to information, for everyone. This means free, immediate, online availability (Ok, this was only possible with the widespread use of online platforms) of research output that includes journal articles or books. One of the benefits of open access publishing is that it requires no fees to access published research, which means it is no longer restricted to a selective audience.

In a nutshell, open access can increase your visibility, citations and engagement with the public (independent researchers or the general laymen aka non-scientist who can’t access subscription content), faster impact on existing research or applications, and it may also enable international collaborative research. Another benefit of open access publishing is the different types of open access resources offered by most journals, including an open data policy where authors must provide the research data or file, codes, etc., not only to ensure reproducibility of the methods, but so that other researchers can reuse it. Today, there are various open access publications and initiatives like the Open Archives Initiative, the Budapest Open Access Initiative, as well as the initiatives undertaken by ICSU, UNESCO, and CODATA.

One thing worth mentioning is that all articles in open access journals do undergo peer review. The difference lies in them being free for everyone to access and download upon acceptance. Many portfolio journals offer open access (e.g., Nature), and each may offer various open access options.

Now, it is not so easy as just deciding to go open access, there are various types of open access – seriously! There is a color-coding system that was adopted after open access publishing started gaining popularity, soon after it was first offered in the 1990s.

Here is a brief overview of the different types of open access publishing available:

Gold open access

This is one of the most open, least restrictive types of open access. The final published version of research articles is permanently and freely available for anyone, anywhere.

Green open access

This is when the accepted article is first deposited into a subject-based repository or an institution’s repository, which then often specifies how the article may be used.

Diamond open access

This refers to journals that provide free access for readers, but also for research authors to publish in. Although the name is slightly deceiving, diamond open access journals are supported by institutions or other infrastructures, hence they may not have a high-impact factor.

Hybrid open access

This is one of those types of open access where a subscription journal offers open access, where the processing fee is paid for individual articles. Although the processing fees may be higher than that of a regular open access journal, it may be worth the effort if your article fits the journal’s aims and scope perfectly.

Bronze open access

This is not fully open access because although the article will be freely available, the types of open access journals that offer this kind of service have no open license.

Black open access

This is an illegal open access model, where although the article is not openly licensed, it is still shared by illicit services that offer free access to scientific publications or other content (e.g., Sci-Hub).

There are many benefits of open access publishing, and if you want to publish in a journal with free open access policies, please bear in mind that a fee is payable by the author(s), institutions, or funder to cover the publication costs. However, if this enables your research to be immediately free to access and download, and have a greater impact, then go ahead!

Related Posts