There are many different types of OA and the main differences are based on how the costs of publication are paid for.  The different types are often referred to as “routes” and each route is often described as a colour.  Three of the most significant are:

Green Open Access:

Green open access is the route you can use to make outputs published in traditional subscription journals open access without paying an article processing charge. This is the default route for open access for Aston University and the ongoing REF policy (which is still effective after the submission of REF 2021). Almost all journals allow authors to make their outputs available through green open access, and an increasing number of publishers are also allowing chapters and books to be made open access through this route as well. Please get in touch with us if you would like further information!

Authors make their outputs open access via the green route by depositing their accepted manuscript (the version after peer review, but prior to the journal copy-editing and formatting) into a repository. At Aston, the Open Research Team then check over the metadata and manuscript and add any missing information as well as any copyright statement required by the published. The OR Team also add the appropriate embargo period if one is required by the journal- there are many journals and publishers that do not require any embargo before a manuscript can be made open access. The manuscript is then made freely available in perpetuity to the public through Aston's repository, Aston Publications Explorer, either immediately or after the required embargo expires.

As soon as your article has been accepted for publication, please log in to Pure and create a record for your publication (see these simple instructions). Alternatively, you can email with your publication details so that we can do this for you. Using Pure at Aston University


Diamond Open Access:

Diamond open access is another type of open access publishing where the publisher does not charge subscriptions or article processing charges, so it is both free to read the journal and free to publish in it.  More than 70% of open access journals fall into this category. Diamond open access journals exist across the academic spectrum and provide the same level of peer review and editorial oversight as traditional subscription or gold open access journals.

The Directory of Open Access Journals, has a filter that can be used to find open access journals that do not charge article processing fees. These journals have all been checked and vetted according to DOAJ's guidelines.

The Open Library of Humanities also publishes a number of diamond open access journals across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.


Gold Open Access:

Gold open access is the route to OA publication via an article processing charge (APC) paid to the publisher.  For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as “author pays” open access, although funders and institutions may also cover the APC payment.  Gold OA encompasses fully open access journals where the journal only publishes gold open access, or hybrid open access journals where it is optional whether to pay for gold open access or publish via the standard subscription route.  Many funders, including the Wellcome Trust and UKRI, have changed their OA policies so that they will not fund hybrid journals except in very limited situations.

Paid gold open access is different from 'free access' or 'open archive' initiatives that publishers may apply to certain articles or journals. These free access and open archive labels are not perpetual and the journal/publisher is legally able to put them behind a paywall whenever they wish. Additionally, you cannot self-archive these versions in a repository and authors and readers are limited as to how they can reuse these outputs.

Authors wishing to publish their outputs with gold open access should always choose a Creative Commons licence (CC BY) and retain copyright.

If you are looking for funding open access as an Aston University author, please see Funding OA Publication .