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Open access publishing is an alternative to traditional publishing. All open access works share two characteristics: they are available online and are freely available to view by anyone with Internet access. In addition to being freely available for online viewing, the author of an open access work grants additional rights to the reader, such as allowing downloading, copying, printing, distribution, searching, and/or making derivative works without permission from the author. Removing price and access barriers to articles allows the broadest possible audience and reach for scholarly works, which could increase the visibility the works and their impact.
While open access can apply to a wide variety of works, including books, articles, images, video, and music, the movement has been particularly strong in the field of scholarly journal publishing. With scholarly journals, the authors, editors and reviewers are generally not paid for their works, so that they are not forgoing any compensation from making their works freely available on the Internet.
Two Types of Open Access
There are two broad categories of open access publishing:
Green Open Access allows authors of articles published in traditional subscription journals to self-archive their works in an institutional repository, such as DigitalGeorgetown, in a subject specific repository, such as PubMed, or on their personal web pages. Today, most subscription journals allow self-archiving with restrictions, such as embargoes and allowing only the accepted manuscript version of the article and not the published final version.
Gold Open Access journals are fully open access. All articles are immediately available to read and often have few or no restrictions on reuse. There is no embargo, and the published final version of the article is freely available. Gold open access articles may be published in fully open access journals or hybrid journals, which include both open access articles and articles available to subscribers only.