7 Open Access

In order to understand how predatory publishers work, it is important to look at Open Access publishing.

What is Open Access? Open Access symbol - an open lock

Open Access is the practice of providing free and unrestricted online access to research publications and data.

Open Access publishing allows researchers and the general public to access research publications freely, making it easier to disseminate and access research findings.

Two types of Open Access Publishing: Gold and Green Open Access

Gold Open Access:

Publishing in a journal that offers immediate open access. Either an Open Access journal (where all papers are open), or a traditional journal where you have the option to make your article openly available. Most of these journals require Author Processing Charges (APCs).

Green Open Access

Deposit your paper in an open repository. Options include institutional repositories (such as the U of A’s ERA) or discipline specific preprint servers (such as arXiv). You can share your work as a preprint any time, and many journals allow authors to deposit the accepted manuscript (or post-print) after an embargo period. You can check Sherpa/Romeo to determine if your chosen journal supports Open Access deposit.

Why publish Open Access?

There are many benefits to Open Access Publishing:

  • You research can be disseminated faster when you share preprints (Green Open Access)
    • This leads to faster impact
  • More people can access your research
    • Open Access publications are free to all, unlike traditional publications that are behind a paywall
  • Higher impact, faster
    • Articles that are shared openly get more citations, faster than traditionally published articles



Sharing preprints is very common in physics and arXiv is the physics preprint server, but there are many other subject specific preprint servers that are relevant to interdisciplinary research.

Other preprint archives include:


Open Access and predatory publishing

Predatory publishers pretend to be legitimate Open Access publishers and take advantage of the “pay-to-publish” Gold Open Access model described above. They charge article processing fees, but do not have any of the editorial or peer-review processes that legitimate Gold Open Access publishers have.



Open Access does not make a publisher predatory, their bad practices do!





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Advanced Library Skills for Physics Research Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Stieglitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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