Open Access (OA) publishing represents a relatively new model of publishing that endeavours to make research content available for free to end-users who have access to the internet. It has many advantages (and some drawbacks as well). OA publishing shifts the costs from end-users (traditionally, subscribers to academic journals) to other sources (authors, academic institutions, libraries, public funding agencies and industry). A wealth of information on OA publishing is available here.
Within the new world of OA, there are different models, including ‘Green’, ‘Gold’, ‘Bronze’, and ‘Platinum/Diamond’. Perhaps the least-known among these are the last two models, which we will discuss in this article.
Bronze Open Access
In the Bronze OA model, there is no Article Publication Charge (APC) levied against the author or any other funding entity. The publisher chooses to make certain articles and content freely available. Free content can be offered in order to promote a certain topic or highlight selected articles, or point out a theme in an issue.
It’s important to note that although free to authors and end-users alike, the ‘free access’ typically lasts for a limited period of time; it is not indefinite compared to other OA models. The publisher can stop the free articles at any time. Furthermore, authors do not retain the copyright to their articles. As a result, Bronze OA articles are generally not available for downloading or distribution.
Platinum/Diamond Open Access
Platinum/Diamond OA stands significantly distinct from Bronze and other OA models. In Platinum/Diamond OA, costs for producing the content are paid by neither authors nor consumers of the content. The very real costs of publishing are paid by the publisher, academic institution or other funding group.
With Platinum/Diamond OA, the emphasis of publishing is on achieving the academic goals of making knowledge production, dissemination and consumption free, or as at least inexpensive as possible. Platinum/Diamond OA are frequently offered by university presses where the costs of publication are subsumed within existing budgets and as part of the mission of the university.
Sources of publication funds comes from volunteers, institutional funding, donations, subsidies, grants, advertising and professional societies. At present, this mode of publishing is practiced on a small scale.
Note that ‘Platinum’ and ‘Diamond’ are names that are generally interchangeable. Some scholars parse them as two distinct terms, but functionally, they mean the same thing.
Key Differences between Green and Gold Open Access
How do Bronze and Platinum/Diamond OA differ from Green and Gold OA? A major difference is that with Bronze and Platinum/Diamond OA, authors don’t pay the APCs, whereas they do so with Green and Gold OA. The chart below highlights key elements of the four OA models.
Benefits of Publishing in the Bronze and Platinum/Diamond Models
The outstanding benefit of Platinum/Diamond OA is that authors pay no fee whatsoever to publish their research. Copyright is retained by authors, and published material is easily accessible and discoverable. In the Bronze model also, there is no charge to authors or end-users to access content, but such content is limited in scope and usually available for free access only for a finite time period.
Tips on Submitting Papers to Green and Gold Journals
A few tips will help in submitting to OA journals, especially Bronze and Platinum/Diamond journals:
· Consult with your institutional librarian for guidance before you begin to submit your papers. They will have the most up-to-date information on OA journals, OA models, etc.
· Carefully read the journal’s Information for Authors to make sure you know their OA policies, which type(s) of Creative Common Licenses they use, publication fees, etc.
· Contact authors who have published previously in your intended journal; how was their experience with submitting and publishing OA papers?
Liuta I: Shades of OA: Open Access Colour Classifications. https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/publish/scholarly-publishing/radical-access/open-access-colour-classifications. Accessed 12/9/22.
Schmitz J: Gold open access and green open access: What’s the difference? https://www.publisso.de/en/no_cache/advice/publishing-advice-faqs/difference-between-gold-and-green-open-access/. Accessed 12/9/22.