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LAB Guide to Publishing and Open Science: Open Access

Open Access publications

Open Repositories

Skip the paywall!

Despite the ever increasing volume of open access publishing, the majority of scientific articles are still behind paywalls. If you found an interesting article, but can't find it from LUT Academic Library's databases, it's worth a try to see if Google Scholar can find a final draft version of the article.

You can also utilize the DOI -number based services listed below. DOAI and oaDOI help you find open access version of articles if they are available. Open Access Button works the same way, but in addition you can send the OAButton team a request for an article you wish to be made available.

Open Access Publishing

Open access publishing means free dissemination of scientific information by publishing a research paper or article on the Internet and granting the scientific community and the general publics rights to read, copy, print and link to the entire publication.

There are different ways to make your research paper or article open access.

Gold OA  (journals)
In gold OA the publishers make the paper or article immediately and freely available from the point of publication, and usually apply an article processing charge. The APC can be costly.

Green OA  (self-archiving)
Green OA involves making a copy of paper or article, usually the final draft, openly available in an institutional repository, for example Theseus. Publishers stipulate which version of the paper or article can be deposited and specify an embargo period following publication before the paper can be made open access. You can check your publisher's open access policies and summaries of self-archiving permissions from SHERPA/RoMeo.

It is worth noticing that while social networking services such as ResearchGate and make it easy to share your publications, they are not considered official repositories and therefore don't qualify as green OA.

Hybrid OA
Hybrid OA refers to subscription journals that charge an extra fee to make a specific article open access while the remainder of the journal remains behind a paywall.

Open access explained by PhD comics

Beware of the Predatory Publishers

Predatory open access publishers are the flip side of the otherwise positive open access publishing. Predatory publishers exploit the gold OA route of open access publishing.

The predators cash in on the article processing charges by collecting (sometimes costly) fees and in return publishing almost anything regardless of the quality: you pay, you get published. And usually you get published pretty quickly, since there is no actual peer review process. The names and titles of  the publishers and their journals are often misleadingly titled to resemble established and well-respected publishers and publications. Unfortunately there has also been an increase in predatory conferences that operate the same way.

Predatory publishers fish for articles by sending emails directly to researchers who have previously published something online (articles, conference papers etc). Usually these are easy to distinguish simply because of poor grammar and clumsy way of writing, but sometimes they can be quite convincing. Whenever in doubt, it's advisable to google the name of the publisher and/or journal in question and see what comes up - the internet is full of warnings on predatory or otherwise shady publishers. And remember that you can always ask from the LUT Academic Library, we are here to help! Just send us email at 

Useful links:

8 ways to identify a questionable open access journal

Why publish OA?

  • More visibility for your research
  • Increases the change of being cited
  • Better quality of research through transparency
  • General public can access scientific results more easily
  • Increased economic and social impact


APC (article processing charge)
An APC is a fee paid to the publisher to make an article free at point of access (Gold OA or Hybrid OA).

Double dipping
Double-dipping describes the situation where a journal charges an APC on top of its normal subscription fee if an author wishes to make their particular article OA. In effect, the institution is paying twice. (Hybrid OA)

A period of time defined by the publisher during which the author can not publish a self-archived open access copy of the publication in question. Embargo periods are typically from 6-36 months. The embargo period starts from the date of publication.

Final published version/Publisher PDF
The paper or article in the format in which it appears in the publication (i.e., the final version with the proper layout).

Institutional Repository
A university's or research facility's online database of their OA works. Repositories do not undertake peer review but do hold material that has been peer reviewed elsewhere. In addition repositories can hold 'grey literature' such as Theses, Discussion Papers, Datasets etc. LAB's repository is Theseus.

Parallel publishing 
The paper or article is published in a journal by a publisher, but a copy (usually the final draft) is made available OA in a repository. (Green OA)

Post-print/Final draft/Author accepted manuscript
A paper or article that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication but hasn't yet been laid out for publication by the publisher.

A draft version of a paper or article that hasn't been peer reviewed.