What is Open Access?
Open access (OA) literature has been defined as digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA materials may be downloaded and shared freely thus they have the possibility to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in a closed-access, or subscription, journals. For more information about Open Access at IU, visit openscholarship.indiana.edu.
Green vs. Gold
There are two major types of Open Access publishing: Gold and Green. Gold OA refers to publishing in an open access journal that provides immediate access to the article. Green OA is a method whereby authors publish in any journal (open or closed access) and upon publication self-archive a version of the article in an OA institutional repository, subject repository such as arXiv, or central repository such as PubMed Central. Understanding of the types of Open Access can be confused by Hybrid OA journals. These journals are closed access but provide a Gold OA publishing option for individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay an OA publishing fee.
Just because something is freely available online, does not meant that there were no costs involved in placing it there. Open access publishers have tried various methods to support this type of publishing, and the current state of publishing is still in flux as no one method will work for all publishers. Some will charge author fees, some are subsidized by institutions, some are subsidized by scholarly societies. There is no one size fits all solution.