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The World of Open Access: 2. Colors

Image credit: www.pixabay.com

Noble colors for a noble idea

There are different ways to distinguish the different Open Access types. The most common nowadays is to give them different colors. As we believe, that the idea to make science as accessible as possible is extremely honorable, we like to make make a reference to the knights and the colors they use the most.


The different colors and different types of Open Access come from the different rights the author keeps and the different content the audience can access. Even though the color scheme is not officially institutionalized, it has been widely adopted by the Open Access community. It has some minor variations, but here we are going to present to you the most commonly accepted version.

Green Open Access

In the Green OA case, the author publishes a paper in a regular closed-access journal. They, though, reserve the right to openly share their work. They can, for example, post it on an own website, the website of their institution, or archive it in an open online repository. This can be done both with the pre-print or post-print (after peer review) of the article. Very often there is an embargo period imposed by the journal and the author can exercise his rights only after it is over.

Image credit: thescinder.com

Blue Open Access

Blue OA refers to the cases when the journal is close-accessed and the author only reserves the right to distribute the post-print version of the paper. This is also called the publisher's version as it is the version, that passed peer review and will be published in the journal.

Yellow Open Access

We speak about Yellow OA when under the same conditions, the author can post, share and self-archive only the pre-print of the paper and not the final version published in the journal.

Image credit: www.pixabay.com

Gold Open Access

Gold OA is the model, when the journal, where the article is being posted is fully accessible to anyone. This means the readers do not need to pay a subscription or buy the respective issue in order to read the complete work. As this is usually the way Journals cover their costs, in the Golden OA case, they sometimes charge the authors small APCs (Article Processing Charges). Often, though, they look for a way to avoid them by looking for different other sources of funding. Sometimes this is called Diamond/Platinum Open Access.

Hybrid Open Access

Some journals offer the Hybrid OA model, namely when the access to the journal is closed, but each author can pay APCs and make their article open for the audience. 

Black Open Access

The last and most undesirable case is the Black OA. Sometimes articles are being pirated and made illegally openly available. While both authors and publishers are trying to fight this, there are even repositories dedicated to Black Open Access.

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