Open Access is a complex topic. Some freely accessible content will also be free of copyright, while some are only free for specific uses and will still need copyright to be paid for commercial distribution. Article Galaxy helps our users navigate this tricky environment. We regularly communicate with publishers and Open Access advocates to ensure compliance as Open Access becomes an increasingly prevalent way to distribute content. This article is intended as an overview of the Open Access process, but please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions about this very nuanced subject.
We use multiple data sources and a variety of account settings and workflows to help users strike the right balance between these complicated needs:
- Optimizing access to free content
- Ensuring users obtain the most recent version of their citation
- Complying with license terms set forth by the publisher and authors
Open Access articles can be identified as content which has a creative commons license or some other form of an Open Access statement that allows us to verify with the publisher that the content is formally identified as Open Access. These articles are often accompanied by an orange “open padlock” symbol to identify an article as Open Access, however this symbol is not always applied consistently.
If Price Estimates are enabled on your account’s order form, then our automated process will pre-check your citation to determine if it qualifies as Open Access. If our database is able to verify an Open Access designation, the item will be identified as Open Access and a link may be provided to access your article directly from the hosting website at no charge.
Many accounts will also have a manual step in place where we will check all orders at time of delivery to determine if they are Open Access and adjust prices down to zero if the article can be verified as Open Access.
Open Access can have terms based on the type of license granted. For example, some content is free of copyright for any use and some have restrictions where the article is only Open Access for Non-Commercial uses. Accordingly, an order’s Intended Use may impact whether Open Access applies. More information about these licenses can be read here - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
Reasons why a freely accessible PDF may not be Open Access include the following:
- The free version is not the Version of Record (ex: an author manuscript)
- The customer’s use is commercial and the content has a non-commercial license (CC-BY-NC).
- The content has temporary unrestricted access but it is not Open Access
- The freely available content is not in a print-formatted PDF. For example, articles that are freely accessible in html format may require a royalty payment to deliver the paginated print-formatted version.
We communicate directly with publishers to identify Open Access journals and work with a variety of databases to correctly apply Open Access to facilitate the free transfer of information within the terms set forth by the publisher and authors. These terms can be very complicated, so please reach out to us if you ever have any questions.