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Open Access 5: OA Glossary

OA Glossary

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Article Processing Charge - a cost of open access publishing borne by authors, their institutions, or agencies funding the research that enables immediate, free access to the final version of a publication made by the publisher. Instead of having readers pay for subscriptions, the cost of publication is thus shifted from the readers to the authors.

Copyright transfer agreement (CTA) - The copyright transfer agreement (CTA) or the publisher's agreement is a legal document that states the condition of publication which can be a full or partial copyright transfer or a license to publish. The author who creates the work is the copyright holder. Copyright is a bundle of rights. The CTA may specify various rights that the author does retain, such as whether the author can post the article in an open access repository and under which conditions. If the CTA does not specify what rights the author can retain, the author may have transferred the whole copyright of his or her work to the publisher and thus will need to seek the publisher's permission when using part or whole of the document unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in the copyright law.

Embargo - an embargo period is a period of time following the publication date of an article or journal when free access to the full text is not available. This period of time varies depending on the policies of the publishers. Access to the full text during an embargo period is restricted to users who have paid a subscription. 

Gold Open Access - An OA publishing route where the final published version of your article is freely and permanently available on the journal's website for anyone, anywhere to read. (View more)

Green Open Access - An OA publishing route where authors share an earlier version of their article online or self-archive it in a repository, usually following an embargo period. (View more)

Hybrid Journal - Subscription-based journals that provide access to subscribers only, but also offer an open access option for authors to publish individual articles with article process charges to make them accessible to everybody. 

Institutional Repository - The digital platform an institution uses to host and preserve scholarly outputs, such as articles, books, or reports. CityU Scholars, the integrated research information management system of CityU, also serves the purpose as an institutional repository.

Predatory Publisher - Publishers that exploit the model of author-pays OA publishing by charging fees for publication but with low editorial and academic standards.

Transformative agreement - also known as transitional or ‘read and publish’ agreement, is an umbrella term describing those contracts negotiated between institutions and publishers in which former subscription expenditures are repurposed to support open access publishing of the negotiating institutions’ authors. These agreements consist of two elements – ‘publish’ and ‘read’. The ‘publish’ element refers to costs of open access publishing, i.e. Article Processing Charge, of authors affiliated to the negotiating institutions, while the ‘read’ element refers to subscription fees for accessing journal articles published behind a paywall by members of the negotiating institutions.

Version of Publication - Most publishers specify on their website the versions of the work they allow researchers to deposit in an institutional repository for OA*. The permitted versions are:

  • Pre-print also known as Early version, Submitted or First manuscript. Usually in word processing format, this is the version an author submits to a journal for consideration before the peer-review process.
  • Post-print also known as Accepted Author Manuscript, Peer-reviewed or Author Final version. Usually in word processing format, it contains all the revisions made during the peer-review process.
  • Published also known as Publisher's PDF, Publisher's Final version or Version of record. It has the final layout and formatting done by the publisher for the purpose of publication either in hardcopy or electronic format.

SHERPA/RoMEO publisher policy index provides information on the copyright and self-archiving policies of publishers*. Usually publishers allow authors to post copies of pre-print or post-print rather than the final published version for OA archiving.

*While Sherpa/Romeo provides a good starting point, you should always confirm the copyright policies via publishers' website.