Closed Access

Closed access means that a publication is not freely and openly available on the internet. This state can be temporary; for example, if the individual publisher's contract only permits the publication of a text version of the publication on a repository after a certain embargo period, e.g. 6 months. In such cases, the publication becomes freely available after the embargo expires (see Green Open Access). If the publishing agreement does not provide for free publication of the publication at all, this is called permanent closed access. Closed access articles are often behind paywalls, i.e. an interested reader has to pay money to download and read the article unless their institution has paid a subscription fee to the publisher to make the journal available for their employees.


Corresponding Author

The corresponding author assumes primary responsibility for communicating with the publisher during the submission, peer review, and publication process. The person ensures that all formal requirements of the publisher are met. Often, these are researchers who have contributed significantly to the publication and/or who can ensure that the publication process runs smoothly and successfully due to their experience - often as a research group leader.


Embargo refers to the period between the first publication of a publication on the publisher's website and the earliest possible self-publication in an institutional repository such as ZORA. Large publishers often specify the embargo period in a so-called self-archiving policy. This usually provides for a generalized embargo for all journals of the publisher of, for example, 6 or 12 months after initial publication. In some cases, different embargo periods apply within a publishing house for journals in the fields of natural sciences and medicine or humanities and social sciences.

For more information, see also the glossary entry on Green Open Access.

Gold Open Access

The term "Gold Open Access" is ambiguous. Usually, a publication is called Gold Open Access if it has been published under an open licence in a medium in which all components are Open Access. In Gold Open Access journals, this means that every article is immediately freely accessible; the same applies to Gold Open Access anthologies. This definition corresponds to the Directory of Open Access Journals DOAJ.

Authors sometimes have to pay fees for Gold Open Access publications. These fees are referred to as Article Processing Charges (APC), Book Processing Charges (BPC) or Book Chapter Processing Charges (BCPC), depending on the venue of publication. Open access publications are often under an open license, giving readers more user rights than the licenses conventionally provided with closed access publications.

In some cases, however, Gold Open Access is also used as a meta-category for all publications with an open licence. A subcategory of Gold Open Access, known as Platinum Open Access or Diamond Open Access, enables authors to publish OA articles free of charge. Such journals are often hosted on platforms that are made available to editors by universities. The University of Zurich also has a corresponding plattform in the form of HOPE. Unfortunately, Platinum Open Access cannot be disclosed separately on Such publications are subsumed under Gold Open Access.

In a working paper published in 2018, Patrick Danowski reflects on the blurring associated with the classification of OA in colours and proposes that a clearer classification be used in future:

Green Open Access

Green Open Access refers to publications that are secondary published on an institutional repository such as the Zurich Open Access Repository and Archive (ZORA). This type of publication is also known as self-archiving and is regulated in corresponding policies, at least by larger publishers. However, the right to secondary publication can also be negotiated individually by the authors in the publishing agreement.

The contractually stipulated right to secondary publication or self-archiving is usually subject to more or less restrictive provisions required by the publisher. An embargo of several months to several years is often stipulated. Only after the embargo period has expired may the publication be freely published. In most cases, it is not the final published text version ("Version of Record") that may be used, but only the accepted manuscript (aka "author-accepted manuscript" [AAM]), i.e., the definitive text version after peer review, but without the publisher's logo, etc. Rarely, green open access is allowed with an open license.


Hybrid Open Access

Hybrid open access means that a publication appears in a medium that is not fully open access. Hybrid publications are often articles that appear in a journal that requires subscriptions. While the other publications are behind a paywall and are only accessible to subscribers, the open access article is freely accessible under an open license.

Authors usually have to pay fees for hybrid open access publications, which are called Article Processing Charge (APC) or Book Chapter Processing Charge (BCPC), although it is rarely the case that single chapters out of an edited volume can be made open access. APCs and BCPCs for hybrid open access often exceed fees for fully gold open access publications.

As part of the consortium of Swiss university libraries, the University of Zurich has signed several so-called Read&Publish agreements in recent years. This means that the existing very expensive subscriptions with (major) publishers have been extended to include quotas that allow authors from the participating universities to publish Open Access (mostly in the publishers' hybrid journals). In some cases, the contracts also include gold Open Access journals from the publishers.

Open Access

The goal of Open Access is to ensure that publications are freely accessible to everyone around the globe without any technical, financial and legal barriers.

The Open Access movement emerged in the 1990s in the wake of the so-called journal crisis. This was triggered by the ever-increasing cost of purchasing scientific literature, which in many cases led to a deterioration in the supply of literature and a major strain on the budgets of scientific libraries. Another driver of the crisis was the fact that universities and scientific societies increasingly began to hand over their publications to commercial (large) publishers.

In 1999, the first OA publisher was founded. In the early 2000s, various initiatives and declarations led to the establishment of technical protocols and platforms that still form the basis of OA today. Various OA approaches also emerged, which today are referred to as Gold Open Access, Green Open Access, and Hybrid Open Access.

In 2008, the Zurich Open Repository and Archive ZORA was launched at the University of Zurich. With ZORA, the UZH took on a pioneering role in the field of Open Access in Switzerland.