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Library Research Support: Open Research: Glossary of open access terms

This guide is intended to provide advice and support on open access research, including guidance around Durham Research Online (DRO), open access publishing, research data management and related topics.

Glossary of open access terms

You may find some of the terminology used in relation to making your work open access confusing or off-putting.  Below are descriptions of commonly-used terms but please do get in touch if there is anything you would like discuss in more detail.


The AAM, sometimes referred to as the 'final author version', 'final author manuscript', or ‘final manuscript’ is the version of your work which:

  • has been accepted for publication
  • has been peer-reviewed
  • but has not yet gone through type-setting and layout by the publisher

Often the AAM is a Word version of your publication. Most publishers will allow the AAM to be deposited in an institutional or subject repository, subject to an embargo period. Note that the final published PDF (the version that appears on the publishers website, sometimes called the 'version of record') cannot usually be deposited in DRO, unless an article processing charge (APC) has been paid for Gold open access.

The fee which may be payable to the publisher to publish via the gold open access route. Some funders will provide funding to cover the costs of an APC.

Creative Commons Licences

These are a bank of licences designed to be applied to online works by the copyright owner. The licences allow the copyright owner to make it clear how their work can be used by others, beyond what is permitted under copyright legislation.

You can find out more about these at


Creative Commons Attribution Licence

The most open of these licences is the CC BY licence - .

As long as the original author(s) receives attribution, this allows anyone to:
- copy, distribute or transmit the research
- adapt the research
- make commercial use of the research

The original copyright owner may retain copyright or you may be required to transfer copyright to the publisher.

This licence is a requirement for gold open access papers for some funders, such as the UK Research Councils and Wellcome Trust. 

The point at which:

  • an output has been reviewed by the journal or conference (normally via peer review)
  • all academically necessary changes have been made in response to that review
  • the article is ready to be taken through the final steps toward publication (normally copy-editing and typesetting).

By this point, the paper should have been updated to include all changes resulting from peer review as well as any changes of an academic nature requested by the journal editor or conference organiser.

A unique identifier for an online document, used by most online journal publishers. As the DOI is unique to the publication, and the underlying metadata will include the most up-to-date location of the file, referring to an online document by its DOI provides more stable linking than simply referring to it by its URL.

DOIs always begin with the digits 10. For example, 10.1103/PhysRevD.86.010001

You can create a stable, permanent link to the official version of an output by adding the DOI number to the prefix For example,

An embargo in academic publishing is a period during which access to a research publication self-archived in an open access repository (Green open access) is restricted. The length of an embargo is decided by the publisher of the work and tends to commence at the point of publication.

Research funders will usually indicate a maximum length of embargo they are willing to accept, which may vary by discipline (eg 6, 12 or 24 months).

To find out about the length of an embargo for a particular journal you could use one of the Sherpa Services:

SHERPA/RoMEO - this is a database of publishers' policies on copyright and self-archiving.

Sherpa FactSherpa Fact provides guidance to researchers on whether a journal complies with a funder's open access policies.

Or contact the Open Access Team at and we will be able to advise.

This refers to a published work which is free to access via the publisher’s website immediately upon publication. It will often have clear re-use rights (perhaps detailed through a Creative Commons licence) which go beyond what is permitted by copyright legislation. A publisher may charge a fee for this through applying an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the individual work.

Author publishes in a subscription-based journal and a copy of the research (usually the author’s final, peer-reviewed manuscript – sometimes referred to as a post-print) is deposited in either an institutional or subject repository (such as DRO). No fee is paid to the publisher.

Following any potential embargo period (set by the publisher) the manuscript is then made free to access. The published final version of the journal remains behind a subscription paywall on the journal website, but the "post-print" copy is available to anyone from the repository. The paper may look different to the Version of Record in layout and design but the content should be the same.

This is the university's preferred route (with mandatory deposit of all outputs in DRO).

When an article is published in a subscription journal, but where the author pays an Article Processing Charge (APC) to make their individual article freely available from the journal website, without restriction or charge to the reader.

This means that some articles in that journal will only be available to subscribers whereas others (where the author has paid an APC) will be freely available to everyone.

This stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) and it is a unique identifier for researchers and is used to help distinguish them from others with the same name. Research funders and publishers are increasingly using ORCIDs.

You may find that you now need to enter your ORCID in order to apply for a grant or submit an article for publication.

Good news: it's free to register and get an ORCID. You only need to provide your name and email address, but it's best to add your affiliation too. If you have already got a Scopus Author ID or Web of Science ResearcherID, you can link them to your ORCID.

A term used for the final accepted, peer-reviewed manuscript that has been accepted for publication. 'Post' indicates that it is the version produced after peer-review and which incorporates changes suggested by reviewers and editors.

However, some publishers use the term post-print to mean the published version. Researchers are advised to clarify terms when in discussion with their publishers about which version of their output can be made available online (if any), and specifically where they can do so (e.g. their personal website, subject or institutional repository). Or email the DRO Team for help.

Is usually used to refer to the text of the article prior to any peer review process. It is also referred to as the author's submitted manuscript.

Online service providing researchers with the means to create bibliographic records or 'metadata' describing their research outputs and upload a version of the full-text (copyright agreements permitting). Readers use the service to search and download content of interest to them.

Repositories are of three types: institutional, subject and funder. Many universities across the world (and most in the UK) have their own institutional repositories which contain content produced by their own researchers. Subject repositories contain papers from a specific set of academic disciplines. For example, arXiv focuses on Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics papers whilst RePEc covers Economics. Some funding bodies such as the Natural Environment Council (NERC) operate a repository containing papers arising from research which they fund.

The Wellcome Trust has its own publishing platform called Wellcome Open Research (rather than a repository) but does also require researchers whom they support financially to deposit in the repositories: PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC).

Commercial platforms such as Mendeley and ResearchGate are not repositories. These are tools to share research and to “connect researchers”. There may be benefits for you in sharing your work on these platforms but you may wish to check whether you have permission to do so from the copyright owner (if this is not you) and it will not count towards any open access requirements from your funder or the University.

Usually the final typeset and edited version of the journal article that is made available by the publisher. It is the final, published version of the paper.