Open Access Publishing: Which Method is Best For You?

By Grace Hamburger on Dec 18, 2019
eContent Pro
Open Access Publishing

Over the last month, eContent Pro has been adding to the dialogue surrounding Open Access (OA) publishing by providing our customers and the research community with a detailed definition of OA publishing and explaining how it benefits the research community. Chapter-level and article-level content, as well as full book and journal publications, can all be published under OA, providing unlimited availability to anyone without any paywalls standing in the way.

OA has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years, and as such OA has branched off into three different subsets. Gold, green, and hybrid OA options are available on most major publishing platforms, and each provide different levels of availability and access. Let’s break down what they mean, and what you can expect from each as a user and an author.

Gold Open Access

Gold OA is what most consider the “standard” in OA publishing. This method of OA is particularly attractive because of the quick turnaround and the customization of rights the authors are granted. Through Gold OA, the final version of the article is made freely and permanently accessible to everyone, immediately following publication. The authors retain the copyright and most of the permission barriers for the content are removed. So long as the authors are properly acknowledged and cited, the work may be re-used and/or remixed. A gold OA publication (book or journal) would be composed of content that is entirely OA (non-subscription). At the individual article level, an article may be published under gold OA either within a fully Gold OA journal (non-subscription) or in a hybrid journal (subscription-based journals that offer an OA publishing option). Authors are required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) which helps to offset the costs to the publisher to produce the work (the development, copy editing, typesetting, online hosting, etc.) since there is no revenue being generated for the content. The APC may be paid by the author or a funding body.

Green Open Access

Green OA, commonly known as “self-archiving”, allows for the pre-print and post-print or the publisher’s version/PDF to be archived in a non-commercial digital repository. For authors who want to ensure that their work can be more widely discoverable but cannot be re-used, remixed, or altered in anyway by outside influences, this is a great option. Most academic publishers offer this as part of their fair use agreements. Think of it as a digital museum, where a document is preserved, and the integrity of the work never changes. Each publisher’s rules vary, but typically, using a Green OA method means that an author forfeits their copyright to the publisher and there are limits as to where the author may post the work. However, the upside is that there are no article processing charges (APCs) for this self-archiving ability. This is not to be confused with Blue OA, which allows archiving of only the post-print or publisher’s version/PDF. Within the Blue OA model, many publishers will place an embargo on the work, not allowing it to be archived any sooner than 12 months post publication.

Hybrid Open Access

What about the academic who wants to have both publishing options at their fingertips – Open Access (OA) and Standard Subscription-Based? Enter the Hybrid OA publishing model. Certain journals allow the author to have the option upon submission of their work to publish either under OA or under a Standard Subscription-Based model, meaning that the article (once accepted and the APC fee has been paid) can be made freely accessible online even though it is part of the journal’s subscription rotation. Articles published under this method will not only be available to everyone via OA, but they will also be put right into the hands of subscribers as well, ensuring maximum exposure. For those opting to publish their article under OA, an APC is required to offset the costs to the publisher to produce the work (the development, copy editing, typesetting, online hosting, etc.). Those publishing under the Standard Subscription-Based option of course would not be required to pay any fees.

No matter what form of OA you choose for your work, it is essential to ensure that the quality of your manuscript is up to snuff. eContent Pro’s Scientific and Scholarly Editing service is the perfect way to receive critical feedback on your manuscript prior to submission. Give your work the comprehensive care it deserves!

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