Quick Guide

What is open access?

Open access refers to the free access to scientific results. This way, scientific publications are digital, free of charge and publicly accessible via the internet. Open access publications can generally be read, copied, distributed, printed, searched and otherwise reused without technical or legal barriers.*

Open access is thus the opposite of closed access, the restricted access customary in scientific publishing, which is usually only possible exclusively after payment, also known as a paywall.** Open access is one principle of open science, which refers to the idea of a universally open science.***

The advantages of open access are worldwide free access to – usually publicly funded – research results, increased visibility and citation frequency, availability of digital full texts, and long-term availability (usually through archiving in repositories). Furthermore, authors retain the rights to their works while open licences guarantee re-use and thus further the promotion of research and knowledge dissemination.

At a glance: the two routes to open access

RouteGold open access logo (an orange and stylized illustration of an open shackle lock)Gold open accessGreen open access logo (a green and stylized illustration of an open shackle lock)Green open access
Definition immediate free access to a work published for the first time release of a version of an already published but not yet freely accessible work
Significance gold standard of open access publishing generally compatible with the traditional closed access publishing
Costs publication fees common, sometimes free of charge none (free of charge)
Main aspectfundingrights
Example

publishing an article in a genuine open access journal or publishing an open access book

depositing a manuscript version of a journal article or of a book chapter in a repository (such as the repository of Humboldt-Universität)

On a dedicated page, we provide more information on gold and green open access.

At a glance: implementing open access for various types of publications

PublicationGold open access logo (an orange and stylized illustration of an open shackle lock)Gold open accessGreen open access logo (a green and stylized illustration of an open shackle lock)Green open access
Journal article

submittal of an article to a genuine open access journal (publication fees common, sometimes free of charge) or to a hybrid journal in which only the respective article is published open access; see especially: funding, publication fund for journal articles, special conditions

Note: Beware of predatory publishing!

deposition of a manuscript version or the published version in HU's repository via self-archiving or the secondary publication right (see author rights), if required with a delay to the initial publication (embargo period)
Contribution to an edited volume

regular publication in an edited volume which will be published open access (see details for edited volume; the decision usually lies with the editors)

Note: Publishing a single contribution (usually a chapter) of an edited volume as open access is often not possible. Please contact the editor(s) and the publisher for further information. You can also make individual contributions freely accessible via green open access.

Monograph

regular publication with a publisher while paying a publication fee for open access; see especially: funding and publication fund for monographs

alternatively: publication in HU's repository

deposition of a manuscript version or the published version in HU's repository via self-archiving or an agreement with the publisher (see author rights), if required with a delay to the initial publication (embargo period) or only for parts of the monograph
Edited volume (anthology) deposition of each individual contribution by the individual authors (compare to a contribution to an edited volume)
Research report publication in HU's repository

deposition of the original digital or digitalized full-text in HU's repository

Note: This only applies if the publication was not published open access initially or only print version has been published, as these types of publications are usually published via the gold open access route.

Discussion/working paper
Doctoral dissertation
Habilitation dissertation
Thesis (usually Bachelor's or Master's thesis)

 


* There is a consensus that open access includes digital, free and public access via the internet. However, there is not always a consensus as to whether and which further uses should be or are permitted. There is a more comprehensive answer to this question in our FAQ.

** A brief look at the origins of open access: Digital transformation and technical developments from around 1990 onwards provided the basic prerequisites for open access, and around the turn of the millennium a worldwide open access movement had emerged. In addition to the digital possibilities, the so-called journal crisis (the situation of dramatically increasing prices of journals published by a few big publishers while the budgets of libraries were either decreasing or stagnating) had an important influence on the developments in the field of open access at that time. Today, open access is one of the most important issues in the scientific community and in science policy, and a central argument for the demand for open access is that the results of publicly funded research should also be publicly accessible free of charge.

*** Open science comprises six principles: open access, open data (free access to research data), open source, open methodology, open peer review, and open educational resources.