• Aggregator: An ‘aggregator’ is a website or computer software that collects the metadata from several data providers and makes them accessible in an OAI repository
  • Archiving: In the Open Access context, ‘(self) archiving’ is the collection of scientific and technical information in a digital repository. Preferably, the archived information is available in Open Access. Also known as: depositing
  • Article Processing Charges (APCs): ‘Author pays’ is the publishing model whereby the author, the author’s institute, or the research-funding agency, pays a fee (the ‘APC’) to the publisher to place the publication in immediate and complete Open Access. This is opposed to the user pays model, which is applied in traditional scientific publishing
  • Citation: Many – if not all – scientific publications are based on previous work. The publications that have been used to write a paper are generally compiled in a reference list at the end of the publication. References to other publications are called ‘citations’. A citation is used to measure the impact of an article (the more an article is cited, the higher its impact), and the sum of all citations is used to calculate impact factors. A debate is going on about the impact of Open Access articles and about whether these are cited more than toll access articles.
  • Copyleft: ‘Copyleft’ – originating from the world of Open Source – can be considered as being the opposite of copyright, and stands close to the concept of Creative Commons (Share Alike). An author using copyleft, allows the use and modification of his work, on condition that the derived work can also be used and distributed under the same terms as the original work.
  • Copyright: ‘Copyright’ is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author of an original published work, including reproduction rights, distribution rights, adaptation rights ( This is similar to authors’ rights ( Copyright is often confused with or reduced to “the right to take a copy”, whereas the latter is only one small part of copyright. The copyrights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned, depending on the agreement between author and publisher. . More information on these issues can be found on the OpenAIRE portal and the SURF website.
  • Creative Commons: ‘Creative Commons’ is a non-profit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Six licenses are possible, combining four basic elements: the attribution, the derivatives, the commercial use, and the ‘share-alike’ principle (this means that an adaptation must be published under the same CC licence, which increases the use of CC licences). These licenses can apply to single works or groups of works. This allows the creator to mark his/her work with the freedom he/she wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. If you are a rights holder who wants to make his/her work available on the internet, you can decide to get a CC licence, for instance one that allows non-commercial use. Others can then use your work for teaching and research purposes. The use of a CC licence is warmly recommended, provided you possess all the rights for the publication. More information:
  • Data provider: In the context of interoperability of different databases, the ‘data provider’ links to one or several OAI repositories and distributes them to a service provider
  • Depositing: a document deposit is the act of publishing a text online in a repository. Also known as: (self)archiving
  • Diamond Open Access: “a non-profit academic publishing model that makes academic knowledge a common good”. The Diamond Open Access Model is introduced in this article as follows: not-for-profit, non-commercial organizations, associations or networks publish material that is made available online in digital format, is free of charge for readers and authors and does not allow commercial and for-profit re-use
  • Double Dipping: an accusation often made againgst ‘hybrid’ journals. Althoug individual articles are being made OA, the entire journal remains subscription based,  forcing the institution to keep its subscription.
  • Dublin Core: Dublin Core (simplified) is a standard that specifies 15 elements, standardizing the metadata of an information resource, and significantly increasing their interoperability (it is part of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)). see:
  • Embargo: An ’embargo’ is a period (in general 6 to 12 months) during which a document, deposited in a repository, is not freely accessible. Most often, this is the result of a compromise between the institute, mandating a deposit, and the publisher.
  • Gold Road to Open Access (‘Gold OA’): see Open Access publishing,
  • Green Road to Open Access (‘Green OA’):  see self-archiving
  • Harvester: A ‘harvester’ is a computer programme used by a service provider for the collection (harvesting) of metadata in one or several OAI repositories.
  • Hybrid Open Access: Some publishers allow immediate Open Access to some of their articles on condition that an ‘Article Processing Charge’ is paid.  In such journals, two types of articles coexist: those freely accessible and others only accessible through a subscription. Although being mainly responsible for the recent rise in available Open Access publications, ‘hybrid Open Access’ doen’t take away the need for paying subscriptions.
  • Impact factor: The ‘impact factor’ is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used to indicate the relative importance of a journal within its field. The Impact factor (IF) was developed by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Recently, alternatives such as the Eigenfactor and the H-index are gaining influence. Also, alternative methods for tracking influence and importance of scientific articles are gaining ground (‘altmetrics’)/ Check this article on Wikipedia for more information.
  • Interoperability: the ability of different information systems (databases, websites, …) to communicate in an unambigious way, enabling correct and uniform exchange and interpretation of the data and information
  • Mandate: Many universities and research institutions have Open Access mandates or mandates for the depositing in the institution’s repository. These stipulate the obligation for researchers and faculty to publish in Open Access journals where possible, to make available their publications in Open Access and/or to self-archive their publications in the institutional repository. A list of mandates can be found on ROARMAP.
  • Mega-journal : online-only open access journal, that covers a very broad subject area and selects content based only on scientific and methodological soundness (or some variation on that statement), with a business model which allows each article to cover its own costs. With these attributes, megajournals are not limited in their potential output and as such are able to grow commensurate with any growth in submissions. See this blogpost for a detailed definition.
  • Metadata: set of structured data describing physical or digital resources. They are an essential element for sharing information about publications and data sets. Set standards for metadata are essential for the interoperability between electronic resources. Metadata are categorized in descriptive, administrative and structural metadata. A widely used metadata scheme is Dublin Core (simplified).
  • OAI-PMH :  The OAI-PMH protocol (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) is a low-barrier mechanism for repository interoperability based on metadata harvesting. There are two classes of participants in the OAI-PMH framework:
    • Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI-PMH as a means of exposing metadata
    • Service Providers use metadata harvested via the OAI-PMH as a basis for building value-added services
  • Open Sience Data : within the context of scientific publishing, open data refers to the principle of not only providing access to open access publications, but also to the underlying datasets, on which the research is based. Specialized data repositories archive these datasets, and allow linking them to articles, projects, author ID’s and so on. Good starting point is he Panton Principles, a set of recommendations about how to make scientific data ready for publication and available for re-use.
  • Open Access publishing:  Open Access journals provide immediate Open Access to the articles published in them (often referred to as Gold Open Access). There is a large variety in business models and publishing methods. You can find an overview of peer reviewed Open Access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals .
  • Open Educational Resources (OER):freely accessible, usually openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational, assessment and research purposes. Although some people consider the use of an open format to be an essential characteristic of OER, this is not a universally acknowledged requirement (from Wikipedia)
  • Overlay journal : electronic journal that is basically a compilation of existing papers, archived in repositories
  • Peer review: process of evaluation of an article – before publication – by a reading committee. Members of this committee are experts in the discipline of the described topic. The purpose of the review is to guarantee excellent scientific quality for the final published paper. While double-blind pre-publication peer review is the most common standard for reviewing, recently journals have been experimenting with other forms such as post-publication peer reveiw or non-anonymous peer review.
  • Platinum Open Access: Platinum open access is a model of scholarly publishing that does not charge author fees. The costs associated with scholarly publication are covered through other means, such as volunteer work, donations, subsidies, grants, etc.
  • Post-print: A post-print is the version of the scientific paper that has received full peer review but has not yet been put in the final published layout. In terms of content, post-prints are the article as published. However, in terms of appearance this might not be the same as the published article, as publishers often reserve for themselves their own arrangement of type-setting and formatting. Some publishers allow the postprint version to be put in Open Access (for publisher policies, see the Sherpa/Romeo website)
  • Predatory publishers: (contested) term coined by Jeffrey Beall , used to indicate fraudulent Open Access publishers.
  • Pre-print: A preprint is a version of the article before peer review. Several preprint versions of one publication may exist. Some publishers allow the preprint version to be put in Open Access (for publisher policies, see the Sherpa/Romeo website)
  • Reader pays: the classic subscription-based publishing model, whereby a user can only have access to the fulltext through a (personal or institutional) subscription to a journal or other information product from one or several publishers. The rising costs of these subscriptions – often bundled in journal packages – have been the one of the incentives of the Open Access movement (the ‘Serials Crisis’)
  • Repository: a repository is a digital archive that is used to collect and preserve information, such as publications and data. A lot of  repositories make use of the OAI-PMH protocol, allowing easy harvesting and interoperability. Suitable repositories can be found on OpenDOAR.

    • An Institutional repository collects the research output of scientific institutions and depositing is only possible for researchers affiliated with the institution
    • Subject repositories (or: disciplinary repository) collect the research output of one or several scientific fields
    • Data repositories are specialized in collecting and preserving data. Most are subject-based, although some of them collect data from all research areas. They can be found through sites like and
  • Self-archiving: also referred to as Green Open Access. providing Open Access by publishing in any journal, and then deposit an Open Access version of the publication (usually but not necessarily a post-print) in a repository. An overview of Open Access Repositories can be found on OpenDOAR. Publishers’ policies on (self)archiving can be found on SHERPA/RoMEO
  • Service provider: collect the metadata from one or several data providers, and reorganises them to create (an) added value(s).
  • TDM (Text and Data Mining): technique for analysing and extracting new insights and knowledge from the exponentially increasing store of digital data (‘Big Data’). More on TDM in this report
We made use of these sources to compile this glossary:

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