Open Access at Saint Mary's College

A guide for Saint Mary's College faculty and administration on Open Access (OA), including definition of OA, OA publishing options, and ways in which the library can help.

What is Open Access?

Defining Open Access

Open Access (OA) is the system by which research is available freely and without access restrictions online. Research is often confined to a pay wall, which the Open Access mechanism bypasses to allow immediate access to research without said barriers. This model allows researchers up-to-date access to potentially crucial research. Practically speaking, open access can be any type of research that is freely and immediately available digitally, such as journal articles and ebooks. However, while the basic tenets of barrier-free access to research applies to OA, there are differences in the ways in which OA research is available to users.

OA terminology
There are different types of models for the delivery of OA, and it’s useful to know the terminology that is commonly utilized to differentiate OA models and delivery methods.


Article Processing Charge (APC) - A publication fee that is charged by OA or hybrid journals that can be paid by the author, or research institution. 

Gratis OA  - OA that has removed price barriers. However, there could be permission barriers for this type of OA. 
Green OA - OA research can be added to digital repository or a public archive. This version of self-archiving allows authors to store the preprint or postprint versions of their research.

Gold OA - The final, published research is free to read on publisher’s website. In this model, the author retains the copyright and the article can be published in an open access journal or a hybrid journal (hybrid journals can be journals that contain a mix of paid articles and OA articles).
Libre OA - OA that is free of most permission and price barriers. 

Pre-print - Refers to research that is stored in a repository prior to a formal peer-review.
Post-print - In contrast to a pre-print version, a postprint version of a research article includes the formal peer-review process, but may not be available on a publisher’s website. 

Open Access Explained

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.