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Library Research Support: Open Research: Routes to open access: Green & Gold

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.

Routes to open access

Various models have emerged to support open access publishing.

Two of the models that you may hear about most often are Gold and Green.


Gold Open Access

  • Gold open access 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) or Book Processing Charge (BPC) to the individual work.
  • Some journals are fully/pure open access and contain only open access articles. Others, known as hybrid journals, offer both open and subscription content.
  • There are journals which do not charge authors (or their institutions) to publish open access. These may be subsidised by a third party or paid for by library partnerships (e.g. Open Library of Humanities). This is sometimes referred to as ‘diamond’ or ‘platinum’ OA.

Green Open Access

  • Green open access (also referred to as “self-archiving”) is when an author publishes in a subscription-based journal and a copy of the research (usually the author’s final, peer-reviewed manuscript) is deposited in either an institutional or subject repository (such as DRO).
  • There is no fee to be 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 a version of the paper (accepted manuscript or Version of Record if permitted) is available to anyone from the repository.
  • This is the university's preferred route (with mandatory deposit of all outputs in DRO).
  • Some book publishers also offer green open access as an option for book chapters.