Skip to Main Content
Ask a Librarian

Scholarly Communications

A practical guide to scholarly publishing and engagement

About Open Access Publications

What is Open Access?

Open access publications allow everyone free, online, digital access to scholarly works.

Open access works licensed with a Creative Commons License can also potentially be download, copied, distributed, reused and shared.

Open Access Options for Authors

Want to make your work publicly accessible to all readers? You have options! 

Diamond, Gold, Hybrid, and Green are open access publishing models that offer assorted levels of open, with varying benefits to readers and authors in terms of copyright and accessibility.

Note that Gold and Hybrid models do cost money to the author. Before selecting a journal, consider the open access model that's right for you. 

Click the tabs to find out author considerations and resources for each open access option, or check out the video below for an introduction to open access publishing. 

Option 1: Diamond


  • Diamond journals are 100% open access.
  • There is no author processing charge to publish in a Diamond journal. 
  • The published version of your article would be made freely accessible immediately upon publication. 
  • Authors often retain copyright under a Creative Commons License. 


  • Few MEDLINE-indexed journals currently publish under this model. 
  • Diamond journals are by nature non-commercial (owned by universities and non-profit organizations,) are often international, and may be more restrictive in the types of submissions they accept or how often they publish. Check the journal's homepage for "information for authors."
  • Evaluate the journal for quality and discoverability (where is the journal indexed?) Diamond journals are less frequently indexed for go-to databases like Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Science.  
  • "Diamond" does not denote editorial quality. 



Find Diamond journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) by clicking no-APC journals and then searching by keyword or filtering for your field, or contact your librarian to request a search of 100% open, no-fee journals for your topic. 


Option 2: Gold


  • Gold journals are 100% open access.
  • The published version of your article is made freely accessible immediately upon publication. 
  • Authors retain copyright under a Creative Commons License. 
  • A common open access model. 


  • Requires the author to pay a fee upon acceptance.
  • "Author processing charges" range widely by journal, from 300 up to 15,000 USD.  
  • Evaluate the journal for quality and discoverability (where is the journal indexed?) 
  • "Gold" does not denote editorial quality. 



Find Gold journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The Directory of Open Access Journals only includes journals that have met quality standards and offers information about author fees, aims and scope, indexing, and author rights for each journal. Or, contact your librarian to request a search of open access journals for your topic. 

Option 3: Hybrid

Hybrid journals offer authors the option to make their article openly accessible, for a fee. 


  • Published version of the article is made freely accessible immediately upon publication. 
  • Good option if you would like your work to be freely accessible, but your journal of interest in not 100% open access. Reasons to publish in subscription journals could be due to scope, name recognition, indexing status, impact factor, etc. 
  • Most subscription journals now offer this option. 


  • Selecting the option to publish open when submitting to a subscription journal will require the author to pay an author processing charge upon acceptance. Author processing fees may range from 300 to 15,000 USD. 
  • Author rights vary by journal. 
  • Librarians and institutions have expressed concern that this model "double dips" i.e. publishers concurrently charge subscription and publishing fees.  You can read more about transformative agreements, read-and-publish, and publish-and-read deals here


  • The Lancet
  • Nature is an example of a self-proclaimed "transformative" journal, where the journal's stated goal is to eventually "flip" to 100% open access.


Look for information about author rights, and open access options and costs on the journal's homepage. You can also find information about "transformative journals" from the big publishers Springer, Elsevier, and others on their websites. 


Option 4: Green

An unpublished version of the published article may be made available in a public access respository such as PubMed Central or Touro Scholar

NOTE: Only peer-reviewed works accepted to a journal may be deposited in Touro Scholar and PubMed Central. 



  • Not traditionally considered a "true" open access publication, as the published version may be closed. 
  • Permissions vary by journal. 
  • Author rights vary by journal. 
  • Journals may impose a delay of up to one year before the article version can be made available in a repository. 
  • Deposit may not be automatic by the publisher (author must deposit). 


  • This article was published in the subscription journal, The New England Journal of Medicine

Due to a funding requirement, the author manuscript is was made publicly available in PubMed Central. From PubMed, the published, formatted version is avilable via the New England Journal of Medicine link, while the author manuscript is freely accessible via the PMC link.



Find open access, copyright, and archiving permissions by journal in SHERPA ROMEO, or on the journal's homepage. NYMC librarians are available to assist you. 


What are Author Processing Charges (APCs)?

What to Know About APCs

Most Gold and Hybrid journals charge authors an "APC" ("author processing charge", aka "author processing fee" or "author publishing charge") for making a work open access. This is meant to cover the publisher's cost of doing business while the journal or article is not being made available as the result of paid subscriptions. 

  • NOTE: Credible open access journals, as well as predatory ones, are likely to charge authors fees for publishing. One important distinction is that a credible journal will not charge the author either before the work has been formallly accepted to the journal, or before a peer-review process has taken place. Beware of journals with an unclear peer review process, that charge a fee before peer review has taken place, or that solicit and accept a research article for publication no peer review. 
  • APCs range in cost from a few hundred dollars to more than 10,000 USD per article for prestigious journals. 
  • Be cautious of journals that are not upfront about author fees on their journal homepage. The journal's information for authors should clearly state if an APC will be required prior to publication, and what the fee will be. 

Plan Ahead

  • If publishing your research results under an open license is important to you, or if your grant requires your work to be publicly accessible, consider budgeting publishing costs into your grant proposal
  • When submitting a work to a journal, never check an option for open unless you understand the fees involved, and know your rights as author. It can be hard to back-track on this selection after acceptance. 
  • If an APC is not in your budget, check out if there are no-cost options for making the work open, such as a diamond or green model. Even if you plan to submit to a subscription journals, you may want to consider the journal's green self-archiving options before making your selectionYour librarian can help

Journals that Offer Discounts on Author Publication Fees

Journal/Publisher Fee Information Information NYMC Library Status
American Chemical Society (ACS) Author Choice Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles. Additional discounts apply if authors are ACS members. ACS Author Choice subscriber institution
British Journal of Cancer (Nature) Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles. BJC Open - FAQs for Authors subscriber institution
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to a discount on article processing fees for open access articles. PNAS Open Access Option subscriber institution (2017 site license)
BMJ Case Reports Authors from a subscriber institution are entitled to unlimited article submission with no publication fees. Contact an NYMC Librarian subscriber institution


Creative Commons Licenses

Many open access works are licensed with a Creative Commons license, which define the works' terms of use. 

There are six types of Creative Commons licenses, with varying degrees of openness. This chart will help you distinguish between them: 

Image result for creative commons licenseCreative Commons licenses by Foter (CC-BY-SA)