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Scholarly Communication/Open Access at American University

This guide defines the concepts of scholarly communication and open access and describes the American University Digital Research Archive, an open access repository for AU faculty and student work.

Scholarly Communication Glossary

Accepted author manuscript (AAM) – also known as a post-print. The peer-reviewed, final version of an article prior to publication. Not the same as the publisher’s PDF.

Article processing charge (APC) – a publisher’s fee charged to the author to make an article open access – the fee is used to pay for publishing costs such as editorial and peer-review processes. These are typically charged for publishing in gold open access and hybrid journals.

Author Addendum – A secondary agreement provided by an article author to a publisher that describes any rights, such as copyright, the author wishes to retain as a condition of publishing his/her work.

Creative Commons license – the voluntary license applied by an author to describe what rights he/she/they elects to extend to third-parties who are interested in re-using the author’s copyrighted work. A license addresses four elements: the attribution, the derivatives, the commercial use, and the ‘share-alike’ principle.

Data Management Plan – a required plan for the maintenance of and  access to research data sets as a condition from some funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Most commonly seen in academic publications. The DOI is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a permanent location for an object such as an article, report, or dataset.

Double dipping – The cynical term used to describe the practice that some publishers employ to offer open access at a price (to authors) in journals that are otherwise paywalled. See also hybrid journals.

Embargo period – the time during which access to scholarly work is restricted to those who have paid for access. Once the embargo period ends, an article can be deposited in a repository (if permitted by the publisher).

Gold open access – When publishers make research articles immediately and openly available from the point of publication. Production costs are often paid for by the author via an article processing charge.

Green open access – When an author self-archives a version of his/her research output, usually a pre-print, in an institutional or subject repository. Publishers stipulate the version of manuscript that can be self-archived and the length of embargo period following publication before the paper is made open access.

Hybrid journal - A journal that includes open access articles among paywalled articles. Typically the authors of the open access articles have been charged an article processing charge by the publishers to make them openly available. See also double dipping

Institutional repository – an online archive of an institution’s scholarly outputs. The collection can include dissertations, pre-prints of articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, technical reports, working papers, monographs, conference presentations, audio and visual materials, research data, or any other content of interest to researchers

Open access – the online availability of scholarly work via the internet, free of charge to individuals who wish to access and read it.

Open Access Mandate - A sometimes controversial and usually lightly-enforced policy at some institutions that requires researchers to add a version of their research output to the institutional repository.

Open Archive Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) - The programming protocol employed in institutional repository software, such as DSpace and Islandora, to identify the content as scholarly research and enable it to be harvested by sites such as Google Scholar. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) - Freely-available educational materials intentionally created for use in courses as an alternative to commercially-distributed texts.

Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier (ORCID) - A unique number assigned to a given researcher by the website upon registration. The ORCID can be noted in the metadata of an article to insure there is no confusion among researchers with similar names and to associate works by a given author who has changed, or used variants of, their name. 

Paywalled - the most common type of academic publishing, where the articles, monographs, book chapters, datasets, etc. are only available to subscribers or those who otherwise pay for access.

Peer review - Also known as refereeing, a process embedded in the editorial process of most high-impact scholarly journals whereby a submitted research article is sent for review and comments to other scholars in the same (or similar) field. The peer review can be used to determine whether the work merits publication and whether revisions are needed

Pre-print – the author-submitted (or ready for submission) draft of an article, before peer-review.

Publisher’s PDF – the final published version of an article, including the publisher’s copy-editing, proof corrections, layout, and typesetting.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) - an advocacy group committed to the advancement of open access, open data, and open education. Among SPARC’s projects is the development of the author addendum.

Self-archiving – the process of depositing one’s research output into an institutional or subject repository

Sherpa Romeo – An international database of scholarly publishers’ self-archiving policies.

Subject repositories – Online archives of open access literature in specific subject areas e.g. SSRN (social sciences), Repec (economics), and arXiv (mathematics).