The Many Colors and Types of Open Access: A Guide

By eContent Pro on May 3, 2023

During your search for a journal to publish your manuscript, you have probably come across words like “Diamond,” “Gold,” or “Green.” These are some of the types of open access.

Open access (OA) is an international movement in publishing that aims to offer freely available, fully accessible academic information online. Over the past few years, OA has gained a lot of momentum and has transformed to allow a greater level of flexibility for both researchers and publishers alike.

Given how widely used OA publishing models are, it is important for academics to familiarize themselves with each type so they can choose which one is right for them.

In this blog, we will break down what each of the following types of OA mean:

  • Gold
  • Green
  • Diamond/Platinum
  • Hybrid
  • Bronze
  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Black
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What Is Gold Open Access?

Gold OA means that the final version of the article is made freely and permanently accessible online to everyone, anywhere in world, immediately following publication.

The authors retain the copyright and most of the permission barriers for the content are removed. So long as the authors are properly acknowledged and cited, the work may be re-used and/or remixed.

A Gold OA publication (book or journal) would be composed of content that is entirely OA (non-subscription). At the individual article level, an article may be published under Gold OA either within a fully Gold OA journal (non-subscription) or in a hybrid journal (subscription-based journals that offer an OA publishing option). Authors are required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC), which helps to offset the costs to the publisher to produce the work (the development, copy editing, typesetting, online hosting, etc.) since there is no revenue being generated for the content. The APC may be paid by the author or a funding body.

What Is Green Open Access?

Green OA, commonly known as “self-archiving,” allows for the pre-print and post-print or the publisher’s version/PDF to be archived in a non-commercial digital repository. For authors who want to ensure that their work can be more widely discoverable but cannot be re-used, remixed, or altered in any way by outside influences, this is a great option.

Most academic publishers offer this as part of their fair use agreements. Think of it as a digital museum, where a document is preserved, and the integrity of the work never changes.

Each publisher’s rules vary, but typically, using the Green OA method means that an author forfeits their copyright to the publisher and there are limits as to where the author may post the work. However, the upside is that there are no article processing charges (APCs) for this self-archiving ability.

What Is Diamond/Platinum Open Access?

Diamond OA, also known as Platinum OA, means that the final version of the article is made accessible online with no fees to the authors or readers. To ensure there is no cost barrier for authors and readers, the entire publication process is funded by outside sources, such as government agencies, non-profit organizations, and research institutions.

This publishing model is ideal for researchers who have limited funding and/or want to increase readership and create social impact.

What Is Hybrid Open Access?

What about the academic who wants to have both publishing options at their fingertips – Open Access (OA) and Standard Subscription-Based? Enter the Hybrid OA publishing model.

Certain journals allow the author to have the option upon submission of their work to publish either under OA or under a Standard Subscription-Based model, meaning that the article (once accepted and the APC fee has been paid) can be made freely accessible online even though it is part of the journal’s subscription rotation.

Articles published under this method will not only be available to everyone via OA, but they will also be put right into the hands of subscribers as well, ensuring maximum exposure. For those opting to publish their article under OA, an APC is required to offset the costs to the publisher to produce the work (the development, copy editing, typesetting, online hosting, etc.). Those publishing under the Standard Subscription-Based option of course would not be required to pay any fees.

What Is Bronze Open Access?

Bronze OA refers to articles that are freely available but do not have a clearly identifiable license. Without a license, an article cannot be reused or redistributed in presentations, course materials, etc. Therefore, Bronze OA articles cannot be considered fully open access.

What Is Blue Open Access?

Blue OA allows archiving of only the post-print or publisher’s version/PDF. Within the Blue OA model, many publishers will place an embargo on the work, not allowing it to be archived any sooner than 12 months post publication.

What Is Yellow Open Access?

Yellow OA allows authors to archive a pre-print version of their work, which includes any published version of the work before the general publication of the work.

What Is White Open Access?

White OA means that authors do not have the right to archive their work (any versions), including pre-print, post-print, or the publisher’s version.

What Is Black Open Access?

Black OA refers to publications that have bypassed paywalls and have been illegally released and made freely accessible to the public.

How eContent Pro Can Help

Have you considered submitting your manuscript to an open access journal? Making sure your document is clean, clear, and free of errors is key in streamlining the submission process. Consider having your manuscript checked for spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting, consistency, and flow issues with eContent Pro (eCPro)’s professional English language copy-editing service.

With over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, we have earned a reputation for delivering high-quality work that is error-free and polished to perfection at the quickest turnaround time.

When you choose eCPro for your copy editing and academic proofreading needs, you can rest assured that you are working with a team of experts who are passionate about what they do. Our native English-speaking copy editors and certified proofreaders are highly experienced and specialize in over 10 research areas, ensuring that your document is in good hands.

In addition, we use Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature to perform edits, allowing you to easily review and manage the changes made to your document. We also follow various style guides, including APA 7th edition, MLA, APA, Chicago Style, and more, to ensure that your document adheres to the standards set by your academic institution or publisher.

At eCPro, we are committed to providing excellent service at a competitive price. Our standard copy editing and proofreading service costs just US $0.06 per word, with a turnaround time of 2-3 business days at no extra cost. Your total cost of copy editing will also benefit from our current 10% academic discount, and if you use one of our bundled services, you will receive an additional 10% discount.

So why wait? Contact us today to learn more about our copy editing and academic proofreading services and how we can help you achieve your publishing goals. With our team of experts by your side, you can be confident that your document will be polished to perfection and ready to stand out in the competitive publishing landscape.

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