Introducing the Gold Open Access and Green Open Access Publishing Options

Open access is a great route to follow when publishing scientific work. It makes scholarly publications publicly available to readers online at no cost and with or without restrictions. Authors and funders find open access critical to assure unrestricted distribution of their work to help them gain visibility, while the readers appreciate the opportunity to access recent fieldwork for free.

There are many different routes for publishing open access, with the two main ones being green and gold. This article shares more insights into these two publishing options for authors.

Open Access Open Access
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What Is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) comprises a set of principles and an array of practices that determine how research outputs are distributed online. Those practices have the main purpose of making the articles available to anyone, anywhere, and free of charge. This publishing route comes with plenty of benefits for both the author and the reader, and it’s a common way of scholarly work publication.

The author gets to improve their visibility, reach a broader audience, receive more citations, and build a strong reputation. The readers, on the other hand, can access content that assists them in their work. They can choose to view, download, or reuse the content under certain conditions.

The two most popular types of OA publishing are green and gold open access. The publishing communities use these terms to determine how open access can be implemented for a certain article. This mainly refers to the way the work is provided to the readers.

Other Types of Open Access Publishing Options 

Other than the Gold OA and Green OA, there are Diamond or Platinum and Bronze OA options. The Diamond publishing path is much like the Gold OA but without the Author Fees, while the Bronze OA means the reader is free to read the content but not to re-use it. Also, in Bronze OA, the copyright is transferred to the publisher.

When publishing in hybrid journals, authors are free to choose between the Gold and Green options.

What Is Gold Open Access?

Most publishers are familiar with gold open access. This is when the final version of the article is freely and permanently available for readers online right after publication.

Gold open access allows researchers to share their work anywhere at that time. The permission barriers are removed, and these articles can now be published in OA journals or hybrid journals.

There is rarely an embargo period for these articles, which means they are available on day one of publication.

Finally, the author can add restrictions on how readers engage with their work. The reader must credit the original publication with precise bibliographic details.

There is normally an article processing charge (APC) that covers the cost of publishing gold open access. These charges are met by the author or the funding institution. The payment process starts once the article is accepted, and only researchers whose work is accepted get charged these fees.

The advantages of this publishing route are that the work is available right away with no restrictions, so authors can freely share it with anyone, anywhere. The disadvantage is that gold open access can get expensive due to the APCs.

What Is Green Open Access?

Green OA or self-archiving means one version (either pre-print or post-print) of the manuscript is placed into a repository that makes it freely available. However, that version becomes dependent on the publisher or the funder. In contrast to gold open access, the publisher in this case keeps the copyright of the article.

The work can be made openly available in the publisher’s repository under certain terms and conditions. There is usually an embargo period of six to 24 months after publishing the article. This means that the article will be freely available in the repository after the embargo period is over.

The main advantage of this approach is that it’s inexpensive as authors can publish articles without paying a charge (APC). After the embargo period, the article is fully available at no cost as well. The downside is that the final version isn’t available right away and that the author doesn’t get to keep the copyright of their work.

What Are the Gold OA Publishing Options?

Most fully open access journals support gold OA publishing. Most publications of this type are available for free to access and download at any time. This means that the readers don’t have to subscribe to gain access. For this reason, journals charge fees to authors to cover the cost.

Authors and researchers can use online databases to look for open access journals in their field of research. They can search for fully open access journals or hybrid journals. The information about whether or not a journal supports gold open access is usually available on the official website.

The Gold OA publications require a signed Open Access License Agreement (OALA).

Publishing Route of Gold Open Access

All journals that support the Creative Commons License (CC) can publish in gold open access. This license provides a legal framework for users to access, distribute, and download content freely. There is normally a vast number of journals to choose from.

Two of the commonly used types of CC licenses include:

CC-BY 4.0

This license lets others tweak or build upon the author’s work even for commercial purposes. The person using the work needs to credit the original publication and license the new creation under the same terms.

CC-BY-NC 4.0

Under this license, the content can’t be used for commercial purposes, but it can be redistributed in any format, as well as mixed or transformed.

How to Get Started

To publish an article in gold open access, you first want to search for a journal that supports this form of publishing. You can use online databases or visit the website of the journal you believe would be interested in publishing your work.

You can typically order open access by completing the steps in the “Rights and Access” form you receive in your email after signing up.

Once the article gets accepted for publication, you’ll have to pay the Article Processing Charge, and the article will be accessible for free for anyone to read and download.

If the author is unable to pay the fees, they can apply for fee waivers or ask their institution for funding.

What Are the Green OA Publishing Options?

Most hybrid journals support green OA. This route combines publishing an article in a scientific journal that’s subscription-based with self-archiving in an open repository. The scientific journal governs the contractual terms of self-archiving.

Publishing an article in a subscription journal lets authors self-archive a copy of their manuscript inside an open archive and make it freely available online. The authors can publish green OA in journals with traditional subscription models, and they’ll have to sign an agreement with the publisher.

Publishing Route of Green Open Access

Originally, an article that goes down the green OA route gets published with closed access. The article may become available to everyone after an embargo period that can last a few months. However, note that this isn’t always the case.

Once the embargo period is over for the articles that apply, the author can place their work in any chosen repository or preprint archive.

How to Get Started

Before publishing an article in green OA, you should see whether it’s possible to have it archived or published in the open repository. Also, you want to verify the terms and conditions of the publisher for self-archiving.

The self-archiving policy is present in the License agreement, the Sherpa Romeo, or on the publisher’s website.

You can choose to publish the article in a traditional or OA journal.

Finally, you want to follow the publisher’s terms for submitting the article into a repository. The publisher will determine which version of the article you can make available. There are three options:

  • Preprint. This is the version you send to the editor before it is peer reviewed.
  • Postprint. This version includes the comments and edits made during the peer review process.
  • Publisher version. This is the published version that includes the pagination, comes in the usual journal design, etc.

You can choose to archive your article in an institutional, disciplinary, or multidisciplinary repository.

Choose AKJournals to Get Your OA Articles Published

OA publishing is great for authors, funders, and readers for many reasons. Funders and authors can reach a broader audience and expand their visibility, and readers can enjoy unrestricted access to content that helps them in their study or work.

Everyone interested in publishing an article and making it freely accessible should consider publishing open access since it’s packed with benefits. Depending on your needs and budget, you can go for green or gold OA publishing.

All AK authors are granted Green OA, while the Gold OA is available in any AKJournals – with or without APC. The AK also hosts a number of Platinum OA journals.