Skip to Main Content

Open Access Publishing

Methods of Open Access on an Article Level

Most scholarly information enters Open Access through one of two methods:

1) Open Access Gold: publication in an open access journal, also known as Open Access Gold. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central

2) Open Access Green: deposit article (aka "self-archiving") in an institutional repository, author's website, or other archival location. UNM's institutional repository is the Digital Repository.

Here's a visual to explain the difference:

The above graphic is created by Darren Chase at the Stony Brook University Library and licensed CC BY-NC 4.0.

Types of Open Access Journals


Gold open access means that a publication is immediately provided in open access mode through a high-quality open access publication channel, that is, an open access journal. In this case, the publisher is responsible for providing the article in open access mode immediately. The publisher may charge an open access fee (article processing charge).


Hybrid open access refers to a combination of subscription-based and free-of-charge publishing. This means that the author pays a fee (APC) determined by the publisher to make the article freely available. Otherwise the journal is only available to readers who have paid the subscription fee. Some hybrid journals allow for Green Open Access publishing in a researcher's institutional repository or on their own webpage. Sites like Sherpa Romeo can help researchers identify the Open Access policies of thousands of journals.

Diamond / Platinum 

Diamond / Platinum OA Journals refer to open access journals that don't charge any author fees (APC - Article Processing Charges). They are usually financed by a university or research organization.


Bronze refers to content in paywalled journals that is made freely available by the publisher. This may be done for publicity or to share important research. The licensing and author rights on this type of open access publishing is questionable.

Other Open Access Terminology

Article Processing Charges (APCs): APCs are paid by authors (often through grant funding). They are used by open access journals in lieu of subscription fees to support the cost of publishing and may generate revenue for the publisher.

Embargo: A period of time set by the publisher in which an academic article cannot be deposited into an institutional or other open access repository.

Predatory Publishers: Predatory publishing is an exploitative academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.

Publisher Policy: Publishing companies often have policies related to where and when authors can share versions of their articles.

Paywall: A paywall is a virtual "wall" behind which journal articles exist that someone must pay a fee to access. For researchers affiliated with an academic or research institution, this fee is often paid for by the institution in a subscription-based model. 

Pre-Print: A draft of an academic article before being submitted for peer review. Typically, the version first submitted to a journal.

Post-Print: The final draft of an academic article after peer review but before copy-editing.

Publisher Version/PDF: The version of an academic article that is formatted for publication in a journal and/or online.

Repository: Institutional, governmental, disciplinary or other archive that hosts scholarly research. 

Archival for Open Access Journals

Articles from open access journals are "born digital" documents. Usually no print copy is produced, even for archival purposes. Some OA journals utilize electronic archival programs like LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) to help ensure that articles are accessible even in the event of a publisher server failure.

LOCKSS works by allowing institutions that subscribe to a journal (usually libraries) to archive a copy on a specially configured server. Under a traditional for-profit publishing model enforced by license agreements that transfer intellectual property rights to the publisher, negotiating permission to use LOCKSS can be a challenge. However, open access publishers - especially those that use Creative Commons - are in an ideal position to take advantage of LOCKSS.

Resource Management Librarian

Profile Photo
Robyn Gleasner
HSLIC Room 323

Open Journal Systems

Converting to Open Access