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Durham University



Here are some key terms about Open Access. Please email the DRO Team for further information.

Open Access (OA)

Free, online availability of research results and outputs to anyone. Until recently, the term usually referred just to journal articles and conference papers. However, the scope has now widened to include book chapters, books and any underpinning research data. The rationale behind OA is that better research is conducted by sharing research findings, with knock-on benefits for the economy and Society more generally.

8.27 minute YouTube video provides a useful introduction to OA.

Article Processing Charge (APC)

Fee paid to a publisher to make the published version of a research paper freely available to anyone from the publisher's own website. Prices vary, but it's usually between £1.5-£2K exclusive of 20% VAT. The APC is paid in addition to any normal page or colour printing charge. Researchers are strongly advised to check if their funder or institution provides any specific funding to cover APCs before committing themselves to paying the charge.

Creative Commons (CC) Licences

A set of licences under which 'content creators' can publish their work. There are 8 main types of licence to choose from, each one detailing what any user of the content can and cannot do with it. For example, some CC licences permit commercial re-use, whilst others specify non-commercial use only.

Please note, that CC licences are not an alternative to copyright. Choosing to publish under a CC licence does not necessarily mean that the copyright holder gives away their copyright. They can retain it, but give permission for other, limited uses to be made of their work as detailed in the licence.

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organisation based in California. There's a 3 minute video about CC licences on their website.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

A string of letters and numbers which uniquely identifies an electronic object or document available online, such as a journal article, conference paper or book chapter. DOIs are usually found either on the publisher's website or in in the PDF of the publication itself. DOIs always begin with the digits 10. For example, 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.010001

You can create a stable, permanent link to the official version of an output by adding the DOI number to the prefix For example,

But please note not all outputs have a DOI, not even all journal articles.

Gold Open Access

Free and immediate online availability of the final published version of an output from the publisher's own website. The name does imply that payment is required. However, it's not readers who are charged, but rather the author or more often their funder or home institution. But there are some journals and publishers which charge neither the reader nor the author. Try searching the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to find those which don't.

Green Open Access

Free availability of a version of an output from either a subject or institutional repository. The version is usually the final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript rather than the final published version. This is because the author's copyright agreement with their publisher prohibits its use for this purpose. But although the manuscript may lack the polish of the published version, the content ought to be nearly the same. Most publishers also impose an embargo before the manuscript can be made openly available. Embargo periods range from 6-24 months.

No additional fee is paid to the publisher for Green Open Access.

Hybrid journal

Journal which contains a mix of articles some of which are available only to subscribers, some freely available to anyone. Most large publishers offer authors the option to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for 'Gold' open access.


Stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) and is an unique identifier for researchers used to help distinguish them from others with the same name. Research funders and publishers are increasingly using ORCIDs. You may find that you now need to enter your ORCID in order to apply for a grant or submit an article for publication. Good news: it's free to register and get an ORCID. You only need to provide your name and email address, but it's best to add your affiliation too. If you've already got a Scopus ID or ResearcherID, you can link them to your ORCID.


Somewhat ambiguous term used for the final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript that has been accepted for publication. 'Post' indicates that it is the version produced after peer-review and which incorporates changes suggested by reviewers and editors. A pre-print, by contrast, is the manuscript which was originally submitted for publication (ie pre peer-review).

However, some publishers use the term post-print to mean the published version. Researchers are advised to clarify terms when in discussion with their publishers about which version of their output can be made available online (if any), and specifically where (eg personal website, subject or institutional repository). Or email the DRO Team for help.


Online service providing researchers with the means to create bibliographic records or 'metadata' describing their research outputs and upload a version of the full-text (copyright agreements permitting). Readers use the service to search and download content of interest to them.

Repositories are of three types: institutional, subject and funder. Many universities across the world (and most in the UK) have their own institutional repositories which contain content produced by their own researchers. Subject repositories contain papers from a specific set of academic disciplines. For example, arXiv focuses on Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics papers whilst RePEc covers Economics. Some funding bodies such as the Natural Environment Council (NERC) operate a repository containing papers arising from research which they fund. The Wellcome Trust doesn't have its own repository but requires researchers whom they support financially to deposit in PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC).

Author self-archiving

Basically, Green Open Access: author deposit of the final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript in either a subject or institutional repository. Please note that the term is not understood to refer to making published versions of papers available on personal websites or services like ResearchGate.