Open science and research

Open access terminology

Definitions of key concepts of open access publishing.

On this page

Loading table of contents

Article processing charge (APC fee)

A fee (variable according to the journal) charged by the publisher of publishing an article in a gold open access journal, or publishing article open access in a subscription-based hybrid journal. APC fee should be covered either by the institution or the author. Aalto University has open access agreements with several publishers. Under the agreements, authors can publish their articles without APC fees or get discounts on them.

Instead of the term APC fee, publishers can refer to publication fees or open access fees.

See also: hybrid open access, gold open access, transformative agreement

Creative Commons licenses

Creative Commons licenses are standard-format licenses. Different licenses allow a different degree of openness. The CC BY 4.0, which requires attribution of the author is recommended for open scientific publications. The  CC0 waiver does not require mentioning authors and it is commonly used to allow open access to metadata and certain datasets. 

Open content licences


A publisher-defined period of delay during which access to an open access version of the article (usually final accepted manuscript) is not available to users. The period of time between publication of the paper in non-open access form and making an article open access is set up by the journal publisher and is often 6–12 months or longer. However, some publishers do not require embargo period. Open access to the publication is possible only after the embargo period.

See also: green open access, self-archiving/parallel publishing

Final accepted manuscript (FAM) /Author accepted manuscript (AAM) / Post print / Final draft

The peer-reviewed manuscript, meaning the final peer-reviewed version submitted by the author to the publisher, which does not have the layout of the publisher. (Please note that ‘post’ refers to after peer review, not after printing.)

Final accepted manuscript can be used for self-archiving following the policy of the publisher. 

See also: green open access, self-archiving/parallel publishing

Green open access, Green OA

Also referred to as self-archiving, Green OA means that the published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript is archived in an online repository before, alongside or after its publication. Repository software usually allows authors to delay access to the article (‘embargo period’). Free of charge for the researcher, but often only after an embargo period. In Aalto University, the institutional repository is ACRIS and Aaltodoc together.

See also: embargo, final accepted manuscript, self-archiving/parallel publishing

Gold open access, Gold OA

Usually referred to as publishing in an open access journal. In this model, the payment of publication costs is shifted away from readers paying via subscriptions. The costs (often referred to as Article Processing Charges, APC fees) can usually be borne by the university or research institute to which the researcher is affiliated. 

See also: Article processing charge

Hybrid Open Access, Hybrid OA

Refers to a subscription-based journal where only some of the articles are published open access. Open access publishing in a hybrid journal requires paying a separate APC fee.

See also: Article processing charge, transformative agreement

Plan S

Plan S is an open access initiative launched by the EU Commission and Science Europe. The goal of the Plan S is to make paywalled publications that result from publicly funded research accessible to everyone.

Read more about Plan S


The manuscript version which has not been peer-reviewed. (Please note that ‘pre’ refers to before peer review, not before printing.)

Predatory publishers

Publishers who offer open access for a charge but whose quality and services do not meet the standards set for scientific publications.

Self-archiving/parallel publishing

Depositing an article in an institutional or discipline-based repository simultaneously with the official publication and making it openly available to the public, often after an embargo period. Self-archiving process includes the deposit and the requisite embargo period. The publication is available as open access after the embargo. Usually, the self-archived version is the peer-reviewed manuscript, not the final version.

See also: embargo, final accepted manuscript, green open access 

Transformative agreement

Transformative agreements are agreements between institutions or consortia and publishers, which purpose is to switch from a business model based on subscription fees to a business model based on open access publishing. Aalto University's open access agreements with publishers are transformative agreements which give authors possibility to publisher their articles open access in a hybrid journal without an APC fee.

See also: Article processing charge

Read more about transformative agreement (FinElib)

Vanity publishers

Vanity publishers are not recognised as established publishers of scientific publications. They approach researchers by, for instance, sending the same e-mail invitation to anyone publishing a thesis in English. While the charges are usually minor, publishing with these publishers may be detrimental to the researcher’s academic reputation.

An image describing the benefits of open access (for example findability, impact, visibility, higher citation rates, compliance with grant rules, value for taxpayers)

Open Access Publishing

Open access to publications ensures that scientific publications are accessible to everyone free of charge.

Open science and research
  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!