What Do You Need To Know About Open Access Publishing?


Are you thinking about publishing a journal or an academic article online? But don’t know about the legal implications? Well, don’t worry we have you covered.  

In this article, we’ll help you out extensively about the various aspects of open access publishing. You will learn about the different types of open access and also know in detail about the benefits and things to keep in mind before you publish.  

So join us, as we delve into the legal intricacies of open access publishing.  

What is Open Access?

What is Open Access

At first, you might confuse open access with copyright. However, it is not the same. Open access is actually an available publication system of research papers. In open access, anyone can access it and then re-use it according to their own convenience.  

An open access file is determined through an open padlock symbol, denoting that anyone can access it for free.  

Traditionally, these published research outputs were only available to people who accessed them via the library or even by obtaining individual subscriptions. But now, as the research is open to everyone, this gives wide access for academicians to properly conduct research on their research papers. It has also fostered understanding engagement and collaboration.  

Types of Open Access

Types of Open Access

You might be wondering that since open access has a wide horizon, it doesn’t only limit itself. No, there are different types of open access publishing systems that you should know about. They are:  

Gold Open Access

This is one of the least restrictive open access. The final published version of these research articles is permanently available to everyone and everywhere.  

Green Open Access

In this case, the article or a journal is first deposited to a subject-based repository or an institution’s repository. Green open access usually specifies the usage of the article.  

Diamond Open Access

In this case, these refer to journals that come up with free access for their readers and also provide some privilege for some research authors. Even though at a glance you might find the name to be slightly deceiving in its nature, these open-access journals support different institutions to have a high-impact factor.  

Hybrid Open Access

In this case, the subscription journal offers a proper range of open access where it necessitates a processing fee for an article. Sometimes, the processing fee might even seem higher than any other regular open-access journals. However, it might be worth your research if this paid article fits with the aims and the scope perfectly.  

Bronze Open Access

Even though it’s not a full open access where you can freely avail the article. However, these open-access journals offer different services like issuing no open license.  

Black Open Access

This is an illegal open-access model, where even though the article isn’t openly licensed, but is shared among people in an illicit way. For example, sites like Sci-Hub offer free access to different scientific publications or any other form of content.  

Features of Open Access

Features of Open Access

Needless to say, open access publishing has brought over several controversial and even debatable topics to our minds. There are several aspects that you need to keep in mind when scholars and publishers struggle with different and diverse article submission systems. Let’s see what they are:  


In this case, subscription-based publishings typically help with transferring copyrights from authors to their respective publishers. This, in turn, helps the publishers to monetize these articles seamlessly via dissemination and also reproducing the work.  

Retaining these copyrights for authors primarily helps in keeping their work intact and bolsters their academic progress. It also garners academic freedom where they can even formulate the article into something bigger like allowing it to be disseminated by others.  


As the open access publication usually doesn’t charge its readers, there are several financial models one must cover in every other way. Commercial publishers only provide open access to people who might publish it in a subscription-based journal. Publishers may also give the rights to other open-access publishers like PLOS and BioMed Central.  

Pre-print Use

This is typically a version of the research paper where the paper is primarily shared in the online platform during a formal process of peer review. These pre-print platforms are now extremely prevalent with its increasing drive towards any open access publishing. These features are in line with the Green Open Access model.  


The proper route to open access by the author is considered self-archiving. In this case, this version of the article is peer-reviewed before any editorial form of typesetting called post-print. This is generally posted online to an institution to any subject-based repository. However, in some cases even become more restrictive and complicated based on the policies of deposit locations and embargo requirements.  

History of Open Acess Publishing

History of Open Acess Publishing

Now that you have understood the basics of open access publishing, you’re probably now wondering where it all came from. Well, there have been several investigations that talk about the extent of open access.  

Even though an explosion of interest in open-access journals began in the 1990s, it however became prevalent during the late 1980’s or the early 1990s. Nowadays, it is easy to publish an article and also make it accessible over the internet. However, earlier the academic library progress was fairly static and it had minimal access. However, later in 1997, the SPARC started an alliance where research libraries and other organizations addressed the crisis and developed different alternatives. One of them is now open access.  

The first open-access journals that came into being were the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Postmodern Culture, Psycoloquy, the Public Access Computer System Review, and so on.  

Effects of Scholarly Publishing

Everything comes with either a negative or a positive effect. Scholarly publishing is not a stranger to this. The scholarly publishing environment is rapidly evolving in various ways.  

Earlier, scholarly articles and books were published after completing a proper peer review process. After that, they were distributed to the publishers and they ensured that the printing material was of high quality and was widely available around the world.  

Coming to the 21st century, or the present age, traditional publishing practices are not that prevalent. However, they support the creation as well as distribution of high-quality academic literature as they have been doing so for centuries. Hence, the landscape has now evolved to a  much more accessible format with its readily available technology and accomplishes optional results by properly distributing scholarly works. Now, open access allows the works to be read by more to people across the globe.  

Many publishers have now embraced this new method of scholarly publishing to accommodate the norms of the 21st century. Universities are now also promoting several opportunities for affording open access to important books and journals. Therefore it fosters the visibility of self-published works that garner an independent approach in work distribution.  

Additionally, there has also been a significant rise in different types of national government policies where open access to publications is now having taxpayer-funded research. These accesses are primarily based upon adhering to compliance with copyright laws and other important applicable laws. These laws don’t undermine basic intellectual property rights. They also don’t violate any sort of publication agreement.  

Inequality in Open Access

Open access might sound all good and enriched with perfection, however, there are certain aspects of open access you might not know about. Let’s see what they are:  

Gender Inequality

Believe it or not, gender inequality is still one of the most prevalent factors even in the modern system of scientific publishing. Be it citations or any other authorship position, the gender difference is a prominent factor found in different fields of political science, neurology, and economics. These disparities have severely affected the scientific careers of women. They are underrated for their scientific impact and don’t often get the promotion they deserve.  

Income Inequality

There have been several studies that concluded that most of the open-access articles were primarily written by male authors from high-income countries. There are few to no journals published by low-income countries. Ironically, you can grant the authors the open access to finally read up the scientific literature that was inaccessible on their end. However, it sometimes ends up being excluded from those same journals.  

Final Thoughts

Open access at a glance might sound very intriguing and too good to be true. However, it’s not very easy to do so. Sometimes, you might not even get the proper credit for publishing an article. However, since it is free, you can get several online recognitions, that would benefit your overall academic career.  

Anyway, that’s a wrap. We hope we covered every aspect of open-access publishing. You now know what to and what not to do while publishing an article. If there is anything we missed out on, let us know. We hope this blog was useful and informative.

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