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Article processing charge (APC)

An article processing charge (APC) is the charge that’s paid to the publisher to allow for an article to be made freely accessible upon publication. With the APC, the cost of accessing an article is moved from the reader (via traditional subscriptions and paywalls) to the author.

If you want to learn more about APCs, watch our webinar "What's Up with APCs and How Do I Deal with Them?"

Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM)

Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the final author-created version of an article that includes any changes made after peer review and which has been accepted for publication by the journal. The work has not yet been reviewed in terms of copyediting, typesetting, and layout.


Bespoke refers to a customized license created by the publisher which includes specific requirements. A bespoke license can either be written by the publisher or be an adaptation of one of the standard licenses – either by adding new conditions or modifying an existing one. A bespoke license can increase the complexities for the end-user, however, there are times where this license can be appropriate, for instance, in cases where there are special requirements for the data that existing licenses don’t cover.

Bronze Open Access

Bronze OA refers to articles that are made free-to-read on the publisher’s website without a specific open license – this also means that without a license, the rights to make the article OA are with the publisher.


CC BY allows someone to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, and build upon the original work, also for commercial purposes. Credit must be given to the creator. This license is considered the most accommodating of all licenses.


CC BY-NC allows someone to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, and build upon the original work, but only for non-commercial purposes. Although used non-commercially, the moderated work doesn’t have to be licensed under the same terms as the original work. Credit must be given to the creator.


CC BY-NC-ND allows someone to copy and redistribute the original work, but only for non-commercial purposes. Also, if the person moderates, remixes, transforms, or builds upon the original material, it can’t be shared with or distributed to others. Credit must be given to the creator.


CC BY-NC-SA allows someone to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, build upon the original work, but only for non-commercial purposes. If the person moderates, remixes, transforms, or builds upon the original material, they must ensure to license their new creations under the same terms as the original. Credit must be given to the creator.


CC BY-ND allows someone to copy and redistribute the work for any purpose, also commercially. However, if the person moderates, remixes, transforms, or builds upon the original material, it can’t be shared with or distributed to others. Credit must be given to the creator.


CC BY-SA allows someone to copy, redistribute, remix, transform, and build upon the original work, also for commercial purposes. If someone moderates the work, they must ensure to license their new creations under the same terms as the original. Credit must be given to the creator.

CC-BY license types

CC: Creative Commons
BY: Attribution
SA: Share-Alike
NC: Non-Commercial
ND: Non-Derivatives

Closed Access

Closed access means publishing in journals that cover publishing costs through access tolls, for instance, subscriptions, site licenses, or pay-per-view charges.

Color charge

Color charge is an additional fee that covers all expenses related to color-based figures, text, or the like that are included in the article.


Copyright is a legal term that refers to the rights a creator has over their own literary work. Copyright ownership protects the original work and gives a person the sole right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the work in question.

Diamond Open Access

Diamond OA is a non-profit publishing model used by non-commercial organizations, associations, or networks. Diamond OA is identical to the gold OA route where the final version of the article is made freely accessible but without charging any APCs. This publishing model doesn’t allow for commercial and for-profit reuse.

Editorial charge/page charge

An editorial charge is sometimes also referred to as page charge. It’s an additional fee charged when the article exceeds a certain number of pages.

Embargo period

Some publishers only allow green OA after a so-called embargo period. The embargo period refers to the time period between the publication of an article until it’s made freely accessible to the public. During the embargo period, readers must pay a price to obtain access to the publication. An embargo period can span from months to years.


FAIR is an acronym for “findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable” which represents a set of guiding principles intended to define what useful data entails. As such, FAIR data means useful data and is the foundation in making science more open and transparent.

Gold journal

A gold journal, also called a fully OA journal, is a journal that comprises only OA articles that are peer-reviewed and can be accessed online by the public, free of charge.

Gold Open Access

Gold OA means the final version of an article is published in a complete OA format. The research is released in an online journal immediately after publication and stored in the publisher’s system. To cover the costs of gold OA, the publishers normally charge a one-time fee to the authors or the institution, known as Article Processing Charge (APC).

Green Open Access

Green OA is also referred to as self-archiving where the Author Accepted Manuscript (AMM) version is deposited in an online repository that makes it accessible to everyone. Unlike Gold OA, the copyright ownership is usually with the publisher and there are typically restrictions as to how the work can be used. Likewise, there are individual self-archiving policies set by each journal or publisher that decide on specific terms and conditions, for instance, which version of the article may be used and when the article can be made freely accessible in the repository – sometimes an embargo period is set by the publisher.

Hybrid journal

A hybrid journal is a journal that includes both OA articles and closed access articles. In this journal, two types of articles coexist: those that are freely accessible upon payment of an APC and those only accessible through paid subscription.


OA2020 is a global initiative committed to accelerating the transition toward OA and convert all existing scholarly subscription-based journals to full OA journals by working with library consortia from around the world to help them negotiate transformative agreements with publishers.

One-time payment (OTP)

With Open Access, the publication cost, making the work freely accessible is charged to the author who must provide a one-time payment. That one-time payment is typically known as an article processing charge (APC).

See also 'Article Processing Charge'.

Open Access (OA)

Open Access refers to a publishing model and broad international movement where academic research is made freely available online to the end-user at no costs – that is, where there are no financial, legal, and technical barriers, meaning that anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, etc. within legal agreements as opposed to traditional subscription models in which the reader pays a fee to obtain access to scholarly information.

If you want to learn more, watch our webinar: "Why Should I Care About Open Access?"

Open Access fund (OAF)

An Open Access Fund (OAF) is a fund that’s set aside by an institution to help cover the OA publishing cost, i.e., the article processing charge (APC) for authors who don’t have access to other sources to pay the publishing fees. Ultimately, the goal of the Open Access Fund is to support the OA publication models that enable free and immediate access to research outputs.

Open Access Management

Open Access Management is a term that covers a range of processes organizations use to oversee their open access publishing output. Often, Open Access Management will encompass the following aspects: compliance with funder or national open access policies, monitoring publishing agreements, depositing research in a repository, or managing funding to support researchers publishing open access.

Open government

Open government is a license published by the UK government. It’s compatible with the CC-BY license and allows someone to copy, publish, distribute, and adapt the original work, both commercially and non-commercially.

Open Science

Open Science represents a new movement within scientific research that strives to create greater openness and transparency in the research community in terms of publications and data. The idea behind Open Science is to remove all barriers at any stage of the research process and allow for unhindered access to all information, data, and outputs in the entire research cycle.

Plan S

Plan S is an OA initiative, launched by cOAlition S (an international consortium of research funders). Plan S aims to ensure that all peer-reviewed, scientific articles emerging from research funded by public organizations are published in OA journals or immediately via OA repositories – in other words, publications shouldn’t be behind paywalls, nor should there be any embargo periods, and OA should be immediate.

Platinum Open Access

Platinum OA means to publish in immediate OA without paying an APC.

Principal investigator (PI)

The principal investigator (PI) is the person responsible for the preparation, administration, and reporting of a research grant. Likewise, the PI is also responsible for overseeing compliance, finance, or any other aspects related to the research project.

Public domain

Public domain is a specific license where the work can be used freely by anyone for any purpose and without any copyright restrictions. Therefore, a public domain license is considered the clearest form of OA as no one has ownership of the work.

Publish & Read agreement

See Transformative agreement.

Purchase order (PO)

A purchase order (PO) is a source document that's issued from a buyer to a supplier. It comprises requested information on the sale of products and services, including specific pricing and other essential order details. The aim of a purchase order is to create clarity and visibility of business transactions. 

Read & Publish agreement

See Transformative agreement.

Rights Retention Strategy (RRS)

The Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) is developed by cOAlition S, aiming to give researchers supported by a cOAlition S organization the freedom to submit manuscripts to be published in journals of own choosing, also including subscription journals – all while remaining fully compliant with Plan S.

Submission fee

Some publishers and journals charge a submission fee upon submission of a manuscript to help fund editorial and peer review administration. Charging a submission fee can sometimes help decrease competition and acceptance as only authors with the “confidence” that they have picked the right journal will be willing to pay the given submission fee.

Supplementary charge

Supplementary charge is an additional fee that covers any supplementary materials accompanying an accepted article. Supplementary materials may be used for supporting data sets, figures and tables, etc.

Transformative agreement

A transformative agreement (also referred to as a transitional, Read & Publish, or Publish & Read agreement) is a term covering the contract that’s negotiated between institutions (libraries, national, and regional consortia) and publishers. The contract aims to reshape the business model, shifting away from traditional subscription models of paid to read and transitioning toward reducing the cost to access the content of the journal. Thus, in a nutshell, Open Access is a key objective for negotiating transformative agreements.

To learn more about these, watch our webinar "What Do Open Access Agreements Entail?"

Transitional agreement

See Transformative agreement.

Version of Record (VoR)

VoR refers to the final published version of an article, i.e., the version that has been published, including any editorial improvements made after the peer review is completed.


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