Open Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.1 While OA primarily pertains to research articles, and therefore scholarly journals, open values and policies are similarly applicable to research data, software, educational resources (OER), and other outputs developed in the pursuit of knowledge and education.
Open Access status can refer to the article level or the journal level. Journals that make all of their content open by default are genuine OA titles. Other journal titles or publishers have subscription-based models by default, but they allow authors the option of making their articles open (usually by paying a fee). These are typically referred to as hybrid journals.
There are additional labels that you may encounter which describe the openness of a journal using various colors (green, gold, platinum, etc.).2 Most of these labels are not used consistently and can cause unnecessary confusion for authors and readers alike. It is best to review a journal's OA policies first-hand rather than rely on one of these designations when deciding where to publish. The most consistently used label is "Green Open Access," which refers to the right of an author to deposit a copy of their manuscript or article in an open repository (a.k.a. self-archiving).
DOAJ is a respected resource for identifying open access journals. To be included in this directory, a journal must be fully open access, be peer reviewed, and have clear and transparent terms describing their licensing, copyright, and author charges policies.
Sherpa Romeo can be used to identify whether an author is allowed to put a copy of their published article into an open repository. It gives a summary of publishers' open access archiving conditions for individual journals.
There are both commercial and non-profit publishers that are fully open access. Listed below are a few of the more common organizations. Those listed are members of both COPE and OASPA, and their titles are listed in DOAJ.
It is now common for most publishers to offer open access options. Below are some links to publisher webpages that highlight their fully open access titles and/or their other open access options.