Open Access

Open Access – free, universal and permanent access to digital documents: scientific and educational content. This concept is closely related to the scientific movement “open access” (Open Access Movement), which became popular around the world at the end of the 20th century. This movement works to build a new open model of science communication. The main communication channels through which knowledge is distributed in this model are journals, monographs and their fragments, open repositories. There are also science blogs and e-labs that are becoming new forms of communication.

From the legal point of view, open access is divided into:

  • Open Access for free – aking content available within the limits specified by the copyright law with fair use, i.e. with the limitation of use to one’s own needs, for didactic purposes or for the purpose of quoting in a scientific publication;
  • Open Access Libre – sharing content in the public domain or under licenses enabling unlimited, free and non-exclusive use, with the obligation (except in the public domain) to provide information about the author, the subject of the license and its provisions, or to use the same license in derivative works. This highest degree of openness is guaranteed by the public domain and free Creative Commons licenses (CC BY and CC BY-SA).

Due to the way content is shared, open access can be implemented on the basis of different models, the two main of which are:

Gold Open Access – the journal provides open access to all articles on its website without technological barriers (for example, no need to log in), financial (free) and legal (under open licenses or at least as part of free open access). Often, open journals, especially foreign ones, introduce a fee requirement for authors who place their publications in them (the so-called APC – article processing charge). In Poland – thanks to financing from statutory funds or other funds of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education – the vast majority of open journals do not charge the so-called APC fees from the authors. Some journals use a hybrid model: only individual articles, whose authors, institutions or funders pay a fee, are published in open access.

Green Open Access – authors publish in any scientific journal and then make the final version of the article available for public use in an institutional repository, central repository, domain repository, or author’s website. Postprint – a reviewed, final version of the text provided by the author (less often by the publisher) is most often added to the repository. Whether authors can make texts available in an open repository directly depends on the publisher’s policy. Even for closed journals, some publishers allow different versions (for example, preprint or postprint) of their published texts to be deposited into an open repository. Often publishers require the so-called time embargo, i.e. depositing a text in the repository is possible after six months (science, technology, and life sciences) or one year (social sciences and humanities) from the date of publication in the journal.

When depositing a publication in a repository, it may be useful to distinguish between their versions:

  • preprint – a preliminary version of a publication before a scientific review and dissemination in the publisher’s official version;
  • postprint – scientifically peer-reviewed final version of a publication before dissemination in the publisher’s official version.

PLAN S – an initiative of 11 national research funding agencies, including the National Science Center, whose overarching goal is to make available in open manner publications created under grants financed from public funds

Services registering open journals, books and repositories:

Services recording publishers, funders and institutions’ policies regarding open access:

  • Sherpa Romeo – service recording publishers’ policies in copyright and self-archiving of the article, (unfortunately, there are still few Polish magazines and publishers there)
  • SHERPA Juliet – service recording the policies of funders’ conditions for open access publication, self-archiving in repositories and sharing research data.
  • Database of publishing policies of Polish scientific journals [Baza polityk wydawniczych polskich czasopism naukowych] (platform run by the team of the Gdańsk University of Technology Library), defines the publication rules used by Polish journals, informs about the methods and conditions of sharing scientific articles, and verifies whether the selected journal meets the basic requirements of Plan S with regard to the publication model used,

as well as with the help of an interactive website created by the Open Science Platform team, which allows you to easily obtain basic knowledge about the legal aspects of open access, useful for authors, publishers, research units and research funding institutions:

Documents and materials on open access: