Open science and research

Open access terminology

Definitions of key concepts of open access publishing.

Article processing charge (APC)

A fee (variable according to the journal) charged by the publisher of a gold open access publication. Refers to a charge related to publications, used to cover the costs of article processing (e.g. peer-reviewing, editing, publishing, maintaining and archiving). Since open access is free of charge to the end user, different models have been developed to cover the publishing costs and charging. Article processing charges is one model.

Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons licences are standard-format licences. Different licences allow a different degree of openness. The CC BY 4.0, which requires attribution of the author is recommended for open scientific publications. CC BY 4.0 is chosen for open publishing of design and cultural works. The  CC0 waiver does not require mentioning authors and it is commonly used to allow open access to metadata and certain datasets. For details on licences, see Open content licences.

 More info on open access :

Embargo period

A publisher-defined period of delay during which access to an open access version of the article 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. Open access to the publication is possible only after the embargo period.

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.)

Gold open access, Gold OA

Also referred to as open access publishing, Gold OA means that an article is immediately publishes as open access. In this model, the payment of publication costs is shifted away from readers paying via subscriptions. The business model most often encountered is based on one-off payments by authors. These costs (often referred to as Author Processing Charges, APCs) can usually be borne by the university or research institute to which the researcher is affiliated, or to the funding agency supporting the research. In other cases, the costs of open access publishing are covered by subsidies or other funding models. Causes usually additional costs but has no embargo.

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 by the author - or a representative - 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.

Hybrid Open Access, Hybrid OA

Refers to a journal where only some of the articles are open access. Open access status typically requires paying a separate charge.

Pre-print manuscript

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.

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.

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!