Open Access

Open access (OA) is a publication model that seeks to achieve immediatefreepermanent and independent online access to the results of publicly funded science and research. 

Characteristics of open access
  • immediate = access to the results should be provided at the latest when they are published (or even before publishing – e.g. in a preprint repository), it is access without a time embargo 
  • free = access to the results should be available free of charge to end users 
  • permanent = access should be provided in the long term – results must be archived 
  • independent = results should not be read-only, but should be published so that they can be reused (e.g. by publishing under a public license

There are two basic open access models – green and gold route to open access. 

Green route to open access

Green open access is a complement to the traditional way of publishing through scientific journals. Authors still publish their articles in journals with a subscription-based model or in open journals, but at the same time they store and make available the full-text of their article in an open digital repository (so-called self-archiving). 

We distinguish the following basic types of open repositories

  • Institutional – A repository of an organization that typically allows only its members to store and access the results. Example: CU Research Publications Repository (more information can be found in separate section)
  • Disciplinary (subject) – A repository focused on a specific field or area, usually allows to store and make the results available either to members of the field community or of the relevant associating organization. Example: or Pubmed Central 
  • Multidisciplinary – A repository that is unrestricted by organization membership or field specialization. Example: Zenodo 

You can use the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) to find a suitable repository to publish your article or to search for relevant literature. 

Open access to a publication in the case of the green route is provided by authors themselves, however, it is limited by what the publisher allows them to publish. The terms of self-archiving (whether the author can publish the article, which version and under what conditions) are set out in the license agreement (often referred to as the License Agreement or Copyright Transfer Agreement). 

Have you decided to publish by the green route? Take a look at the Individual steps

Gold route to open access

The gold route to open access is based on publishing in peer-reviewed open scientific journals. In the case of this route, open access to the publication is provided by the publisher. 

There are three basic models of open access journals: 

  • Pure/diamond open access journals = Full content of the journal is openly accessible while publishing-related costs are borne by the publisher (e.g. a university publishing house, scientific community). Example: Evigogika or Global Health Research and Policy 
  • Paid open access journals = Full content of the journal is openly available while publishing costs of the article are borne by the authors – they pay a publication fee; this type of journals is often mistaken for the entire gold open access model. Publication fees are usually eligible costs in research projects. Example: PLoS ONE or Occupational Therapy International 
  • Hybrid journals – The journal is available to subscribers by default, only selected articles are available in open access for a publication fee. Example: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 

Journals that make their content available free of charge after the expiration of the embargo period are not considered to be open access – they do not meet the condition of immediate access. 

The idea of paid open journals began to be misused by fraudulent publishers and journals, generally called predators

You can use the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) database to find a suitable open journal to publish your article or to search for relevant literature. 

Have you decided to publish by the gold route? Take a look at the individual stepsAuthors from Charles University are also eligible to use discounts on publishing with certain publishers.  

Public licenses

In order for a publication to meet all open access characteristics, it must be, among other things, available for re-use. This can be secured by licensing under public licenses, especially the internationally known Creative Commons (CC) licenses. Using one of the 6 offered variants of CC licenses, the author can determine how the published work should be handled and thus allow anyone to use the work under clearly defined conditions. 

In the case of the gold route, the option to choose a public license is given either by the publisher’s general policy or is the subject of a paid service (included in the publication fee). For the green route, it depends on the contractual conditions that the author signed when publishing. If the author is the copyright holder, s/he can publish the article in the repository under a public license. 

If you do not know which license to choose for your publication, use a simple application for selecting the appropriate license


The CU FA library offers OA support:
  • recommendation of a suitable open journal for publication (or suitable for auto-archiving, screening of predators) – a condition for publishing in OA mode
  • making the publication result available in the CU university repository – a condition of auto-archiving in the institutional OA repository
The CU Open Science Support Centre offers:
  • methodological support in the area of open access
  • methodological support in the field of research data management
  • help with creating a data management plan
  • help with choosing a suitable data repository

Do you need to clarify something or want advice on the given topic?

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