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Open Access - Open Educational Resources: About Open Access

What you should know

Levels of Access

As a researcher and author you can participate in Open Access journals and books  in several ways. This includes:

  1. Choosing an open access journal to publish research and other scholarly works
  2. Publishing in a Green journal (see below) in order to widely disseminate your research findings and data. Check with publisher about document type
  3. Always submitting a copy of your work in the Argo IRCommons, our open-access online showcase of research, scholarship, and creativity from the UWF community.

The list below describes Open Access Color Classifications that indicate the "openness" of the journal and/or article.

  • Green Open Access involves self-archiving your work in an open access repository, such as the  UWF Argo IRCommons and arXiv.org. You can comply with funding publishing requirement (such as NIH, NSF, and Federal Grant Policies) and  by depositing your work into the IRCommons. You may check with your publisher about which document version you’re allowed to archive and if there is an embargo period before the work can be made available (eg. Elsevier). 
     
  • Gold Open Access involves publishing in an open access journal. This means that all of the content is free to access, download, copy and distribute as long as credit is given to the author. Typically, Gold OA journals charge a fee and  let authors retain their copyright and publish the work under a Creative Commons License, allowing the work to be shared and reused (with certain limitations) without seeking the author's permission. 
     
  • Hybrid Open Access or Paid Open Access involves the author (funding organization or institution) being charged a Article Processing Charge fee to the journal to make their work open access while the rest of the journal is under a paywall. 
     
  • Grey Open Access refers to authors who upload their work on academic social networks (ie. ResearchGate, Academia.edu) or personal/departmental webpages. This can be problematic because the author might be infringing on their publishers’ license agreement. The UWF Library recommends authors deposit work in the Argo IRCommons and link it to their ORCID profile
     
  • Diamond Open Access or Platinum Open Access are Gold OA journals that do not require an Article Processing Charge for authors to publish, or subscription fees for users to access content.
     
  • Bronze Open Access refers to articles made freely available on a journal’s website. However, the journal could remove the free access to these articles at any moment. Additionally, there is no indication of how users are able to reuse the articles (i.e. they might not be legally allowed to download or distribute the articles).
     
  • Orangewashing is similar to greenwashing in which companies use the ethos of environmentalism to win the favor of customers who value environmentally friendly products and practices. When "orangewashing", publishers may use the term open access to appeal to ethics and benefits of the movement while their practices and products are in fact less open and do not comply with the Berlin Declaration Definition of OA.   

Please check out our Scholarly Communication and Argo IRCommons guides for more information. 

Adapted from  the Simon Fraser University Scholarly Publishing website, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License  Creative Commons License

Questionable Journals & Publishers

Watch out for predators!

With Open Access comes some disadvantages. One that has become a significant issue is predatory journals and/or publishers. As you explore opportunities for publishing and presenting at conferences you may come across individuals who prey on authors with a variety of money-making ventures. They may take the form of publishers, journals, or conference organizers.  It's essential that you have confidence in the quality and integrity of the resources that publish or host your research.

Where to start...if you are unfamiliar with the quality indicator noted below you may want to start with a checklist or checkpoint you can utilize to determine the integrity of journals and conferences. Keep in mind that no list is comprehensive and you may find that you need to use more than one or add questions of your own.


Science, in particular, seems to afflicted with this issue more so than other disciplines. For more information read the articles below.

While there are several lists that attempt to identify predatory journals and publishers you will most likely want to check more than one as they are updated at various intervals.

Other Licenses

There are other Open licenses in addition to the Creative Commons. Not all are approved by the Open Source Initiative.  Three of the most common are:

GNU - General Public License: For licensing free software

Apache License: Licensing for collaborative, open-source software development.

The MIT License - Part of the open source initiative

Open Audio License - Focuses on "freedom and openness to use music"