Learn the open access lingo

This open access glossary is meant to give context to key-concepts, models and policy guidelines in open access publishing. The list focuses on general open access terms as well as terms specifically interesting for media scholars. It will be updated regularly.

Last update: MAy 16, 2019, 10:40am

A Social networking platform whose primary aim is to connect researchers with common interests. This is not the equivalent of an institutional repository. It doesn’t meet all the necessary open access requirements, like long term preservation, metadata harvesting, etc. Above all it’s a commercial enterprise.

APC (Article Processing Charge): An APC or Article Processing Charge is a publishing fee paid to the publisher to make an article free at point of access.

Audiovisual essay: A relatively new (digital only) academic publication form of re-edited and recombined images and sounds from preexisting film, TV and digital works. These works profit hugely from open content, to be found in open archives and databases like Openbeelden. Audio-visual essay platforms are: AUDIOVISUALCY and MediaCommons – In Transition.


Berlin Declaration: The Berlin Deceleration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities of 22 October 2003 was written in English. It is one of the milestones of the Open Access movement. By July 2016 over 565 institutions worldwide signed the declaration.

BPC (Book Publication Charge): A BPC or Book Processing Charge is a publishing fee paid to the publisher to make a book free at point of access.


Creative Commons (CC): A non-profit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others within the framework of national copyright laws. The Creative Commons suite of free copyright licenses provides a simple, standardized way to give users permission to share and use creative and scholarly work.

CC-BY: One of the Creative Commons licenses and generally seen as the one true open access license. CC-BY allows full re-use of the work. Never to be mistaken with copyright.


Diamond Open Access: Basically these journals are free to read and free to publish in. They charge no APCs and are often financed by sponsorships, grants, institutional funds, etc. Examples are Alphaville – Journal of Film and Screen Media and NECSUS – European Journal of Media Studies. In the humanities you see quite a lot of Diamond Open Access journals.

DOAB: The DOAB, or Directory of Open Access Books, was launched in 2012. Its primary aim is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Currently there are 282 books related to the tag ‘media‘ to be found in the DOAB.

DOAJ: The DOAJ, or Directory of Open Access Journals, was launched in 2003 at Lund University, Sweden, with 300 open access journals and today contains ca. 9000 open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social science and humanities. Currently there are 65 journals related to the tag ‘media studies‘ to be found in the DOAJ.

DOI: A DOI, or Digital Object Identifier is a type of persistent identifier used to uniquely identify objects. The DOI system is particularly used for electronic documents such as journal articles. However, DOIs are also used for datasets and thus media files stored in dedicated institutional databases like Harvard Dataverse or cloud-storage services like figshare.

DOI versioning: A specific feature that makes it easier to cite either specific versions of a record or to cite, via a top-level DOI, all the versions of a record (article or data).

Double dipping: In the last decade, double dipping has become one of the downsides of hybrid journals. It refers to publishers asking individual authors for an APC while simultaneously selling the journal subscription to libraries. This leads to double income for open access articles in hybrid journals. Several publishers have come up with policies to solve these malpractice. See for example Elsevier’s: no double dipping policy


Europeana Collections: EU-funded multi-lingual open access portal with millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections (like film archives).


Fair-use or Fair-use policy: Fair use is a US legal doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) has published a statement on fair-use policies here. Also, the SCMS published a best practices document for film and media studies writings. Keep in mind that fair-use isn’t applicable for all countries. In the Netherlands for instance, there is no such thing as fair-use. Permission from rights holders is always needed. Please note that fair-use isn’t the same thing as academic citation right.


Gold Open Access: Authors who wish to make their work openly accessible is to publish in an open access journal (“gold open access”). There are many business models for open access journals. Open access can be provided by traditional publishers, who may publish open access as well as subscription-based journals, or open access publishers such as Public Library of Science (PLOS), who publish only open access journals.

Gratis Open Access: Content is available without price barriers but with permission barriers. In most cases this content is licensed under restrictive terms and permission for re-use is needed. See also Libre Open Access.

Green Open Access: Self-archiving, also known as green open access, refers to the practice of depositing articles in an institutional repository or a subject repository such as arXiv.


Hybrid journal: A hybrid open access journal is in fact a subscription journal in which you have the option to pay an APC to publish your article in open access. This practice is criticized since it potentially leads to double-dipping (see double-dipping).

Humanities Commons: A trusted, nonprofit network where humanities scholars can create a professional profile, discuss common interests, develop new publications, and share their work using repository software. The Humanities Commons network is open to all researchers in the humanities.


Libre Open Access: Content is available without price and permission barriers. See also Gratis Open Access.


MediArXiv: a free, community-led digital archive for media, film, and communication research (hosted on the Open Science Framework). MediArXiv provides a non-profit platform for media, film, and communication scholars to upload their working papers, pre-prints, accepted manuscripts (post-prints), and published manuscripts. The service is open for articles, books, and book chapters. The mission of MediArXiv is to open up media, film, and communication research to a broader readership and to help build the future of scholarly communication. In the course of its developments, MediArXiv is working toward interoperability with other important open access scholarly platforms in the humanities and social sciences, such as Humanities Commons.

MediaCommons: A community network for scholars, students, and practitioners in media studies, promoting exploration of new forms of publishing within the field.

MediaRep: DFG funded project at Marburg University to establish an open access repository for academic publications within the field of film and media studies. MediaRep hopes to ensure the long-term digital preservation of open access publications, the consistent use of metadata and the implementation of archiving principles according to internationally recognized standards. Additionally, MediaRep will comprise not only text-based documents but will also (in a pilot study) explore the options to include and reference relevant audiovisual resources, such as e.g. video essays, images, research data.


OAPEN: The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.

Open Access: Refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g. access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions). Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, and monographs.

ORCID: An ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a nonproprietary alphanumeric code to uniquely identify academic authors and contributors.


Peer review: Process of evaluation of an academic article or book, prior to publication to ensure a certain standard of quality. Peers are experts in the article’s subject or discipline. There are many ways of reviewing, e.g. double blind peer review, board reviews and more recently open review, or other forms such as post-publication peer review. There is no global standard for peer review. It’s all about being transparant about the procedure(s). Journals and publishers should state on their homepage what model they use.

Plan S: In fall 2018 a group of European public funding bodies announced that, by 2020, scholars funded by any of these institutions must, under their proposal, publish their work in OA journals or repositories. Though the Plan’s details remain in flux, the proposal is centered on ten principles, including that scholarly authors should retain copyright on their publications, and that article processing charges (APCs) should be standardized and capped.

Predatory journal: Since 2008, Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, concerned with the quality issue of open access journals. In 2010 he began to draw up a list (the Beall’s List) of fake and exploitive journals, the so-called predatory journals. The list has received much acclaim since then. However in the last two years it also received a lot criticism as well. It’s not always clear why a publishing house or journals get a mention on his list. Such a decision is almost always made by Beall himself, without having a clear, visible procedure presented to the outside world. Transparency is an obvious problem. Read more about the criticism here and here. Update February 21st, 2017: Beall’s list suddenly got offline by mid-January and all activities related to his blog seem to be erased from the internet. Up till now it’s unclear why this has happened and one can only speculate about the reasons behind it. There is an archived website here (please note this won’t be updated anymore).

Preprint: A version of a scholarly paper that precedes publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The preprint is usually a non-typeset version, which can be distributed for free, before or after a final version is published in a journal.

Preprint server: A database / repository for storing preprints, usually for one specific discipline. Examples are ArXiv, SSRN, LawArXiv, SocArXiv, etc. etc.


Repository: An online archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. For a complete list of trusted institutional open access repositories: ROARMAP.

ResearchGate: Like, ResearchGate is a social networking site for scholars to share papers and find collaborators. This is not the equivalent of an institutional repository. It doesn’t meet all the necessary open access requirements, like long term preservation, metadata harvesting, etc. Above all it’s a commercial enterprise.


Sherpa/Romeo: RoMEO is part of the SHERPA Services based at the University of Nottingham. RoMEO has collaborative relationships with many international partners, who contribute time and effort to developing and maintaining the service. Current RoMEO development is funded by JISC.

Subject-repository: Subject-based repositories collect publications and grey-literature in a particular discipline or a range of disciplines. for the sciences and Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) are good examples. Note that the last one has recently been bought by Elsevier, which makes it vulnerable for commercially driven decisions.


Zenodo: A research data repository for all disciplines created by OpenAIRE and CERN.

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