What is Open Access?

Open access – unrestricted access to scientific publications and data sets – is an ongoing trend in the scientific community. Open access makes scientific publications and other digital material, such as research data, freely accessible via the world-wide-web. IIASA is committed to providing unrestricted and cost-free online access to scientific publications and data for all users and researchers. The main goal is to increase the visibility, use, and impact of research output, and thereby generate value for the scientific community.

To ensure good data management and open access to all IIASA research, the institute maintains both an institutional publications repository (PURE) and a data repository (DARE) for research produced by IIASA affiliated researchers.

There are many types of open access, perhaps because it is such a young movement and is still developing standards. That said, there are three basic types:

  • Green - refers to self-archiving generally of the pre- or post-print of an article in repositories
  • Gold - refers to articles in fully accessible open access journals
  • Hybrid - sometimes called paid open access, refers to subscription journals with open access to individual articles usually when a fee is paid to the publisher or journal by the author, the author's organization, or the research funder. Some of the fees are quite expensive – up to EUR 5,000. Some universities or libraries have a pool of funding available for hybrid journal publications or sometimes funding is written into grant applications for open access in hybrid journals, although this is not common.

Green open access generally refers to the post-print of an article and three basic version types can be self-archived in repositories:

  • Pre-prints – The author's copy of an article before its final publication by the publisher.
  • Post-prints – The author's copy of an article after it has been reviewed and corrected (a version of the paper or article after peer-review but before publication).
  • Publisher’s version – The version that is formatted and appears in print or online.

    SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving information that authors can use to check which version they are allowed to archive. Not all journals are in SHERPA/RoMEO and it is not always current, so authors may also want to check the publisher's website. SHERPA/RoMEO classifies publishers by color for easy identification:

    • Green - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print and post-print or publisher's version/PDF
    • Blue - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of post-print or publisher's version/PDF
    • Yellow - refers to publishers whose policies allow archiving of pre-print 
    • White - refers to publishers whose policies do not formally support archiving any version.

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Last edited: 16 January 2019


Michaela Rossini

Manager Library and Knowledge Resources Library and Knowledge Resources Unit


Luke Kirwan

Open Science Coordinator Library and Knowledge Resources Unit

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313