Open Access Glossary

The goal of this glossary is to gather all the key terms needed for collaborators to share a common understanding of the Open Access domain.

Our glossaries are intended as living documents and we actively welcome comment and suggestions for improvements.


AccessThe continued, available for use, ongoing usability of a digital resource, retaining all qualities of authenticity, accuracy and functionality deemed to be essential for the purposes the digital material was created and/or acquired for. Users who have access can retrieve, manipulate, copy, and store copies on a wide range of hard drives and external devices.

Article processing chargeFee paid to journals to publish an article as open access.

Article publication chargeCharge levied by a publisher to an author (or their funder or institution) to publish an article. Such charges may include but are not limited to: APCs; page charges; publishing charges or fees; submission charges; colour charges.

Author accepted manuscriptThe author’s final, peer reviewed and corrected manuscript, usually created in Word or LaTeX.


Born open accessCommercial or non-profit publishers established for the sole purpose of publishing Open Access (OA) journals. They normally make use of the Creative Commons Attribution License for their publications. Authors usually retain their copyrights and users are needed to acknowledge and cite the authors in future references.


Closed accessRestricting access to Internet content via a paid subscription; is often called a paywall.

CopyrightA legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.

Copyright transfer agreement A legal document containing provisions for the conveyance of full or partial copyright from the rights owner to another party.


Date of acceptanceThe day on which the publisher or evaluation institution or committee confirms formally that the article has been received from the author and no substantial changes to the content are required. Also the date on which the publisher tells the author that the article will be published and the article is ready to be processed for publication.

Date of compliant depositDate on which a copy of a version of a work and its metadata is in a repository (or equivalent) and meets the requirements of a mandate, policy, piece of legislation etc.

Date of depositDate on which a copy of a version of a work and its metadata is deposited in a repository (or equivalent).

Date of start of embargoThe date that an embargo comes into force and from whence the length of the embargo period is counted.

Date of end of embargoDate after which deposited items become available to read and download on the web. The date of the last day of an embargo period.

Date of first open accessThe date that the work was first made publicly available on an Open Access basis.

Date of online availabilityThe date that a work was first made available online. This may be before or after the publication date.

Date of online publicationThe date that a work was first published on an online publishing platform. This may be before or after the publication date of the print version.

Date of publicationDate the work is made available to the public by a publisher.

DepositThe action of uploading a digital copy of a work into a digital repository.

Document versionDuring the development of a document there are usually several iterations of the work. There are periods along the authoring process that can be identified as a specific identifiable point where the work can be identified as a specific version of the work.


EmbargoRestriction of access to the content of a copy of a work for a defined period of time.


Fee waiver Full or partial waiver for article processing charges (APCs) offered by some publishers to authors based in selected developing countries or low-income economies.

Free to readAccess, use, modify and re-use the content online.


Gold open accessThe publisher version of a publication is immediately and permanently freely available for anyone with internet access to read or download from the publisher site at the point of publication.

Green open accessA type of open access where a version of a publication is freely available via an institutional or subject repository, or other web-accessible digital archive, that is compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). 


Hybrid journalA subscription journal in which some of the articles are open access at point of publication.


Institutional repositoryA repository affiliated with a specific institution.

Institutional webpageA webpage that is associated with the institution at which the author is employed.


LicenceSigned agreement to exploit a piece of IP such as a process, product, data, or software.


Open accessMaking peer reviewed scholarly content freely available via the Internet.

Open access journalA journal that makes its articles immediately available online to the reader without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. All the articles in the journal are available open access.

Open access mandateA policy requiring publication of research in an open access format.

Open archiveA repository that is compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).


Page chargeOne of a number of supplementary charges imposed by some journals to cover the cost of publishing, and charged in addition to article processing charges (APCs).

Post-printA manuscript draft after it has been peer reviewed.

Pre-printPreliminary version of an article that has not undergone peer review but that may be shared for comment.

Press embargoA request by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met.

Publication permissionThe circumstances under which copyright material may be used and where permission must be sought from the copyright holder.

PublishA broad process or system that involves, at minimum, scholarship and writing, certification (most commonly via peer review), registration (commonly formal publishing in a journal or some other version of record), dissemination (awareness, making accessible, distribution), and archiving.

Publishing agreementA legal contract between publisher and author(s) to publish written material by the author(s). This may involve a single written work, or a series of works.

Pure gold journalA scholarly journal that makes its articles immediately available online to the reader without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.


Read onlyOnline content (data or information) that is capable of being displayed but not modified or deleted.

RepositoryRepositories preserve, manage, and provide access to many types of digital materials in a variety of formats.

Research Funder  – An organisation providing financial support for research activity.

Researcher webpageA webpage featuring a researcher’s profile, hosted by their institution of employment.

Reuse licenseA set of terms and conditions that facilitates the reuse of published information.


SharingThe extent to which a work can be discovered, accessed and reused by those other than the author(s).

Subject repositoryA repository focused around a specific discipline.

Submission feeCharge levied on author(s) upon submission of a manuscript to a journal, sometimes referred to as administrative or handling charges.

The terms below include a summary definition. Select the term name to read any more detailed definition.