Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. Through licensing via an open license (usually a Creative Commons License), freely available outputs can also be legally shared and reused. Hence, open access is more than just free access.
One definition is:
“For scholarly work, Open Access means making all scholarly outputs freely available via the Internet, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any lawful purpose, without financial, legal or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.”
Since then the technology and legal frameworks associated with open access have been refined, especially the need for associated open licenses.
This graphic neatly illustrates the many benefits of open access.
This paper “The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review” discusses the the academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access
The citation advantage for open access papers was analysed in this paper from 2018.
Open access papers also have more downloads compared with non-open access papers.
Open access books also have more citations, downloads and usage than non open access books.
Diamond OA refers to community-driven open access (OA) journals that are free for readers and authors.
A recent report commissioned by cOAlition S explore the huge global range of Diamond OA journals
As defined on the Creative Commons (CC) website: Creative Commons licences give everyone from individual creators to large institutions a standardized way to grant the public permission to use their creative work under copyright law. From the re-user’s perspective, the presence of a Creative Commons licence on a copyrighted work answers the question – “What can I do with this work?”
There are six CC licences. For help deciding which to use, use the Creative Commons Licence Chooser
Author’s Original/Preprint is the version of the article before peer review or editing, as submitted by an author to the journal. It is also the version submitted to a preprint server.
Accepted Manuscript (AAM) or “Postprint” is ‘the version of the article accepted for publication including all changes made as a result of the peer review process, but excluding any editing, typesetting or other changes made by journal or publisher.
Final Published Version/Version of Record is the peer reviewed, edited, formatted and typeset version of the article, including any tagging, indexing and other enhancements from a publisher. It includes any post publication corrections made by a publisher. CrossCheck maintains a system which can check for Versions of Record on published articles
Just as with selecting any journal, do your research. Ask peers and colleagues if they have experience with this publisher. Check which databases the journal is indexed in. Don’t engage with emails sent by people claiming to be publishers. Work through Think Check Submit so you feel more confident in your decision and check the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Don’t reply on “blacklists” of predatory journals. These list are often subjective and may be out of date
DOAJ is the Directory of Open Access Journals.
This is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.