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Open Access

A guide to learn about open access scholarship and the Open Access movement.

Introduction to Open Access

Introduction to Open Access (Video)

5 minutes, 52 seconds

For additional questions, please email the Scholarly Communications and Information Policy department at, or contact your subject librarian.

Open Access Basics

Open Access logo."Open Access" refers to the practice of making scholarly research freely available and reusable on the web.

OA promotes broader access to research by:

  • removing price barriers
  • removing permission barriers

OA can be applied to:

  • journal articles;
  • theses and dissertations;
  • monographs and book chapters; and
  • research data.

Common Terms in Open Access

There are two ways to make your work available through open access (OA):

  • Gold OA refers to access provided through publication in an open access forum, whether a journal or a monograph.
  • Green OA refers to access provided through self-archiving, often with an institutional repository, such as NYU's Faculty Digital Archive

Even if you do not publish in an open-access publication (gold OA), you can still make your work available in open access through self-archiving (green OA). To find out more on where to find outlets for making your research open access, please visit the Publishing Open Access page.

Other common terms that may come up around publishing your work open access include:

  • Hybrid OA: a practice of publishers of traditional toll-access journals, in which the publisher offers authors an option to make their individual article open access, usually for a fee.
  • Preprint: a version of a scholarly work that has been submitted for peer review.
  • Postprint: a version of a scholarly work that includes all changes from peer review, but has not been formatted or copyedited for publication
  • Creative Commons: a nonprofit organization that creates licenses that authors and copyright holders can use to grant upfront permission to reuse their work. Many open access scholarly works are published with Creative Commons licenses. See the Creative Commons page of our Copyright guide, or the Creative Commons website, for more information.
  • Addendum: a common attachment to publishing or copyright-transfer agreements, used to request additional author rights beyond what the publisher already grants. See the Publishing Agreements page of our Copyright guide for more information.

Adapted from Wake Forest University Z. Smith Reynolds Library's Open Access guide, by Molly Keener