What is Open Access?

Open Access – unrestricted access to scientific publications – is an ongoing trend in the scientific community. Open Access makes scientific publications and other digital material, such as research data, freely accessible via the world-wide-web. IIASA is committed to provide unrestricted and cost-free online access to scientific publications for all users and researchers as widely as possible. The main goal is to increase the visibility, use, and impact of research output, and thereby generate added value for the scientific community.

There are many types of open access, perhaps because it is such a young movement that it's still developing standards. That said, there are three basic types:

  • Green - refers to self-archiving generally of the pre- or postprint in repositories
  • Gold - refers to articles in fully accessible open access journals
  • Hybrid - some times called Paid Open Access, refers to subscription journals with open access to individual articles usually when a fee is paid to the publisher or journal by the author, the author's organization, or the research funder. Some of the fees are quite expensive, up to EUR 5000. Some universities or libraries have a pool of funding available for hybrid journal publications or sometimes funding is written into grant applications for open access in hybrid journals, though these are not common instances.

Though green open access generally refers to the post-print of an article, there are three basic version types that can be self archived in repositories:

  • Pre-Prints – The author's copy of article before it’s final publication by the publisher.
  • Post-Prints – The author's copy of article after it’s been reviewed and corrected, a     
       version of the paper or article after peer-review but before publication.
  • Publisher’s Version – The version that is formatted and appears in print or online.

  • SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publisher copyright policies and self archiving information that authors can use to check which version they may be allowed to archive. Not all journals are in SHERPA/RoMEO and it isn't always current, so authors may also want to check the publisher's website as well. SHERPA/RoMEO classifies publishers into colors for easy identification:

    • Green - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF
    • Blue - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of post-print or publisher's version/PDF
    • Yellow - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print
    • White - refers to publishers whose policies do not formally support archiving any version

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Last edited: 22 March 2016


Michaela Rossini

Library Manager


T +43(0) 2236 807 283


Luke Kirwan

Open Access Manager


T +43(0) 2236 807 278

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313