OA Basics

Read up on the underlying concepts of ↓ Open Access (OA) as well as on the difference between ↓ Gold/Hybrid OA and ↓ Green OA.

What does Open Access (OA) mean?

The concept of Open Access (OA) stands for unrestricted access to scientific information on the internet at no cost. This includes scholarly publications as well as research data. Open Access encompasses the notion that the results of publicly funded research should be publicly accessible for all interested parties.

Open Access also has many advantages for researchers themselves: it facilitates scientific information exchange, increases the number of readers and citations and improves reproducibility and re-use of content. Open Access is also beneficial in terms of authors' rights: whereas authors usually have to transfer usage rights to the publisher in their entirety when they publish in conventional journals, their rights generally remain with them when they publish Open Access. Publishing is carried out under Creative Commons licences that are conducive to scholarship and ensure proper "attribution" of authors.

Numerous scholars and organisations all over the world have declared their support for Open Access. By signing the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" the University of Vienna expressed its commitment to Open Access which was further elaborated on in the University's Open Access Policy.

The Open Access Office, instituted at the University library, provides University affiliates with support in open access topics.

Gold OA and Hybrid OA (OA Publishing)

Gold OA means primary publication of scholarly writing in Open Access journals or other OA media (if there are no author-facing charges, this is often called Diamond OA or Platinum OA). More than 19,000 quality tested OA journals (see Directory of Open Access Journals) offer scholars the opportunity to take this path and thereby make their results freely available worldwide. About a third of the journals listed – primarily in the natural and life sciences – charges article processing charges (APCs) to cover the services provided by publishers. The University of Vienna supports publishing in OA journals via its OA publishing fund and via contracts with OA publishers (see OA publishing agreements).

An offshoot of Gold OA is Hybrid OA, where articles published in subscription journals can optionally be made freely available for a fee. These journals are also called hybrid journals because they contain both closed and open access articles. Hybrid OA is highly controversial since publishers charge institutions twice: on the one hand authors are paying article processing charges and on the other hand libraries have to cover subscription costs (termed double dipping). For this reason the University of Vienna only supports OA publishing in hybrid journals as part of centralised OA publishing agreements, where payments for subscriptions and article processing charges are administered together.

We archive Open Access publications supported by the University of Vienna in u:scholar whenever legally possible. This ensures that search engines can find your contribution and your work can be presented as part of the University's research output.

Important hint: Always check whether a journal is reputable before submission. The increase in OA journals in recent years has unfortunately led to more and more dubious publishers/providers charging article processing charges without offering appropriate publisher services such as quality assurance or copy editing in return (predatory publishing).

See also Predatory Publishers: How to Protect Yourself

Green OA (OA Self-Archiving)

Green OA means secondary publication or self-archiving of scholarly publications on document servers (repositories). More and more publishers allow secondary publication in institutional and/or subject repositories – and more and more researchers make us of this option to accelerate and open up scholarly communication.

Read up on Austrian copyright law and the various means both the law and publishers themselves provide to allow secondary publication of your articles. As an affiliate of the University of Vienna you can use the institutional repository u:scholar for this purpose. You can also find subject repositories for various fields on the open-access.net platform.