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Publishing through Open Access: Routes to Open Access - The Different Types

There are different levels of Open Access which allow you to choose which route you go down when publishing (including costs) and allows you to choose what you want to happen with your research. 

Note: As per many funder requirements, a data management plan needs to be in place which at that point should outline what will happen to the research, how it will be managed and whether it will be Open Access

Green Open Access (self-archiving)

Green lock symbolGreen Open Access refers to “self-archiving” your publications in an Open Access repository, i.e. in addition to publication in traditional subscription journals, authors also deposit a copy of their articles into an institutional repository, usually the institutional repository of their own institution - i.e., IADT's Institutional Repository, Illustro. Most publishers allow this.

  • The author deposits their preprint/author's accepted-manuscript/final version of the article after all post-peer review revisions have been made (but before copy-editing, branding and layout etc. have been applied by the publisher) into the Institutional Repository.
  • When uploading to an Institutional Repository, the upload must comply with the publisher’s copyright policy - in some cases an embargo may apply. Specific publisher policies in relation to self-archiving can be checked at Sherpa/RoMEO.
  • A link is provided from the Institutional Repository version to the published version.
  • Using an Institutional Repository complements, and does not replace, existing publishing processes. 


Gold Open Access - OA at the point of publication

gold lock symbolGold Open Access: There are now many Open Access journals and platforms where researchers can make their articles openly accessible at the point of publication, without an embargo period.

  • A researcher submits an article to a publisher, which then undergoes the traditional peer review process.


  • Upon acceptance of the article, the publisher makes the article freely available at the point of publication
  • The cost of publication is usually covered by a one-off fee (Article Processing Charge (APC)) paid by the author. The average cost of an APC is approx. €2,000 per paper. Most fees are paid by grants or by parent institutions (source).
  • Some gold Open Access journals do not levy a fee directly on authors, but instead publishing costs are sourced through other means e.g. funding agencies, institutions and professional associations (e.g. Open Library of Humanities). This is sometimes called platinum or diamond Open Access.
  • Some journals are fully Open Access, others are hybrid i.e. traditional subscription journals with an optional OA article processing charge for individual articles.


Bronze and Diamond/Platinum Open Access

There are two other lesser-known Open Access models – Bronze and Diamond/Platinum. 


bronze lock symbolThe Bronze Open Access model is where an article is freely available on a publisher’s website. Some articles may be made free for a period of time; other articles may be made available after an embargo period.  While the articles are available to read on the publisher’s websites without payment, they don’t have a Creative Commons licence and therefore may not be re-used or deposited elsewhere, such as an institutional repository or personal website. 

A good example of the Bronze Open Access model is COVID-19 research, where most publishers made papers freely available to all.    


platinum lock symbolThe Diamond Open Access model (also known as Platinum) is where an article is made Open Access without the author paying Article Processing Charges (APCs), as is the case in Gold Open Access, but there is also no payment to read the article. It mostly involves small societies and collaborative community agreements, often led by academia – more details and an Action Plan from Science Europe and partners. 



Hybrid Open Access

hybrid (orange and grey striped) lock symbolHybrid OA offer authors the option of making their articles Open Access, for a fee. Journals that offer hybrid OA are still fundamentally subscription journals with an Open Access option for individual articles. They are not true Open Access journals, despite publishers' use of the term "gold Open Access" to describe this arrangement. It is sometimes called "paid Open Access".

This is the most expensive option for readers, as the author has to pay to publish, and the individual reader or library still has to pay the subscription fee. In effect the journal is getting paid twice under this model. 


Funder Requirements

funding agencies logos

All major Irish and European funders require some form of Open Access to outputs that have been funded via their research grants. 

Listed below are some of the leading Irish funder's Open Access policies:

And some major European funders:

All funder's Open Access policies can be queried using the "Sherpa/Juliet" service. 


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