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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Open Access (OA) Resources Research Guide

What is Green Open Access

What is Open Access

Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. 

While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. For more information, see Peter Suber's overview of Open Access.

Green Open Access publishing refers to the self-archiving of published or preprint works for free public use. Authors provide access to a version of their publication (with publisher permission) via an institutional repository such as the UDC - University of Minnesota Conservancy and

What version can I make Open Access?

Most journal publishers allow the self-archiving of the Authors Accepted Manuscript with an embargo period attached to the conditions.  This information should be available on the publishers website or alternatively you can check Sherpa Romeo (this online resource aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis). Information from here must be double checked against the policies of individuals journals as policies change over time.  If at all unsure, please contact the library for guidance.

Terminology can vary from publisher to publisher; the table below should help you to decide which version is necessary for your particular needs.

Version Stages


 Alternative terms

Submitted Version

The version originally submitted to the  journal before peer review process and corrections

Preprint, Author's original draft

Accepted Version   

The accepted version, after peer review but prior to the final publishers copy-editing and layout

Postprint, Accepted Manuscript, Author’s Accepted Manuscript

Published Version

 An exact digital replica of the published article

Postprint, Version of record, Final version, Publisher's version


Self-Archiving is the act of (the author's) depositing a free copy of an electronic document online in order to provide open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer-reviewed research journal and conference articles, as well as theses and book chapters, deposited in the author's own institutional repository or open archive for the purpose of maximizing its accessibility, usage and citation impact.

Depending on the terms in the publishing contract, self-archiving may or may not be permitted; authors are often not aware that they may have signed an agreement prohibiting immediate self-archiving of their published work. Some authors agreements permit certain forms of self-archiving, but not others: for example, they may permit a pre-peer reviewed copy to be made available, but prohibit distribution of the final, publishers PDF. Sometimes they impose an embargo period, that is: the work can be archived by the author in an open access system, but only after a period of time has elapsed. The most common embargo periods are 6 months and 12 months, but there is some variation by publishers.

A Guide to Self-Archiving here:

How to Check for Copyright of Published Articles:

Most journals/publishers usually set out the conditions under which their published material can be re-published on open access in Institutional repositories like UDC.  Authors can check the publisher's copyright and self-archiving policies using the Sherpa and Romeo website