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Open Access

This guide provides an overview of open access, including green open access, gold open access, funder open access policies, and open access at Penn State.

Green OA

Definition of Green OA from the UC Libraries' Pathways report:

"Green open access is repository-based open access. Green OA models are agnostic about publisher open access behaviors, relying instead on institutions and authors to take steps to make otherwise toll-access works freely available in online repositories that may be (and often are) managed by institutions. In essence, successful green open access requires: the right to share a given scholarly output, a copy of it, the motivation to share it, and a location for sharing it (i.e., a repository)."

Retaining the Right to Archive Your Work

Traditionally, the copyright to scholarly articles was transferred to the publisher, which prevented the author from placing their work in a repository ("self-archiving"). Today, many journals allow self-archiving by default, often with limitations on when, where, and what version of the article you can self-archive. When a journal's default agreement does not permit self-archiving, many authors negotiate to retain that right.

Article Versions

Publishing agreements often distinguish between three different versions of an article when describing what self-archiving is acceptable:

  • Pre-print (or preprint)
    • Version submitted to journal (pre-refereeing)
    • Also called the "submitted manuscript" or "submitted version"
  • Post-print (or postprint)
    • Author’s final version, post-refereeing, without publisher’s formatting
    • Also called the "accepted manuscript" or "final accepted version"
  • Final version
    • Version as it appears in journal
    • Also called the "version of record,” the "publisher's version," or the "PDF version" (the latter is a misnomer)

ScholarSphere, Penn State's Institutional Repository

Disciplinary & Other Repositories

Academic Social Networks

Academic social networks, such as and ResearchGate, differ from open access repositories. They are typically operated on a for-profit basis and do not have the same preservation commitments as repositories hosted by academic institutions. The following articles provide more information about these distinctions.