Open Access is free access to research publications with as few restrictions as possible.
This means that research should be both readable and usable. This also applies for those not supported by institutions capable of maintaining large subscription access fees to research. Open Access research has a wider reach both to other researchers and for societal use.
Open Access can be hard to recognize if you are physically located at an institution as SDU that gives you direct access to research articles.
Open access is not only one easily defined thing. Here are some common distinctions.
Green Open Access is when a peer reviewed manuscript is openly available through the author’s institution. Most publishers allow authors to self-archive their final manuscript in Pure. Often restrictions apply and the manuscript can first be made open for public viewing after a year or so.
Gold Open Access is when a researcher or an institution has paid a fee to the publisher for making the publication open access directly through them. The fee is also called APC for articles and BPC for books.
Readable online (Bronze OA) means that a publication can be read online at the publisher’s site but the reader is not able to download, use or process the article in any way since all rights still belong to the publisher.