Academic information, in particular research literature and data generated during publicly funded research, should be made fully available to the general public. Two complementary avenues have been explored to achieve this goal: Gold Open Access and Green Open Access.
Gold Open Access is when the first edition of academic work is published as an open access publication. The publication can be in the form of an essay or an entire book. Depending on the business model applied, publication fees are incurred when authors opt for the gold way. These costs are usually financed by the author’s institution. In an ideal scenario, the readers’ financial situation will no longer have any bearing on which information is accessible to them.
In addition to original open access journals with content that is fully and freely accessible, many academic book publishers offer what are known as hybrid open access models. When publishing in a subscription-based journal, authors can make their article freely accessible by paying an additional publication fee. As the additional revenue generated in this way does not usually lead to a reduction in the subscription fee, these business models are not supported by many higher education institutions and research funding bodies.
Green Open Access way focuses on supplying texts that have already been published through publishing houses and other digital items in repositories such as FreiDok plus. A distinction is made between institutional and disciplinary repositories here. Whereas institutional repositories depict the academic activities of individual institutions, disciplinary repositories are used to store the publications for an entire discipline.
The overwhelming majority of academic publishing houses allow delayed publication of the author’s version of an article in repositories. The SHERPA/RoMEO project provides more in-depth information on individual publishers.