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Scholarly Communications

Glossary of Open Access Terms

Author Addendum
A standardized legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement to allow the author to retain their rights to that work, including the right to make a work publicly available.

Gold OA
OA through journals, regardless of the journal’s business model.

Gratis OA
Access that is free of charge but not necessarily free of copyright and licensing restrictions. Also see Libre OA.

Green OA
OA through repositories, such as CUNY Academic Works. Also see Repository; Self-archiving.

Libre OA
Access that is both free of charge (gratis OA) and free of at least some copyright and licensing restrictions. Also see Gratis OA; License.

A statement from a copyright holder telling users what they may and may not do with a copyrighted work. Open licenses, such as those from Creative Commons, permit different degrees of libre OA. In the absence of an open license, a copyrighted work is under an all-rights-reserved copyright, its users may not exceed fair use, and OA is at most gratis OA. Also see Gratis OA; Libre OA.

Open Access (OA)
Barrier-free access to online works and other resources. OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of needless copyright and licensing restrictions. The term was introduced by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002.

Open Access Policy
Universities, professional organizations, funding agencies, and publishers may issue policies related to open access. At colleges and universities, this takes the form of a resolution that either requires or encourages faculty to submit their peer-reviewed works to an institutional repository as a means to promote access to the scholarship created at the institution.  

Publication Fee / Article Processing Charges (APC)
Sometimes called a processing fee and sometimes (erroneously) an author fee. A fee charged by some OA and toll access journals when accepting an article for OA publication, presumably in order to cover the costs of production. While the bill goes to the author, the fee is usually paid by the author’s funder or employer.

In the world of OA, a repository is an online database of OA works. Repositories don’t perform their own peer-review, but they may host articles peer-reviewed elsewhere. In addition, they frequently host unrefereed preprints, electronic theses, dissertations, books or book chapters, and datasets. Institutional repositories like CUNY Academic Works aim to host the research output of an institution, while disciplinary or central repositories aim to host the research output of a field.

Also called OA archiving. The practice of making work OA by depositing it in an OA repository, such as CUNY Academic Works. Also see Green OA.

Toll Access (TA)
Access limited to those who pay. The most generic term for the opposite of OA.

*****Adapted from Peter Suber’s Open Access (MIT Press, 2012) made available under a CC-BY-NC license at *****