Landman Library

Glossary of Open Access Terms

Digital Repository

An online, searchable, web-accessible database containing works of research deposited by scholars. The purpose is both increased access to scholarship and long-term preservation. Digital repositories are often built to serve a specific institution’s community of users, in which cases they are called institutional repositories. There are also discipline-specific digital repositories, like Most digital repositories may be searched together via OAIster.

Institutional Repository

A type of digital repository that is designed to collect the work of a particular institution (usually a university), as opposed to a disciplinary repository like ScholarWorks@Arcadia is the institutional repository of Arcadia University.

Open Access

The movement among scholars that aims to make scholarly literature freely available on the public web. An umbrella term, open access includes both open access journal publishing and author self-archiving in digital repositories or on personal websites.

From Suber’s Open Access Overview: “Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.”

From the Budapest Open Access Initiative: “By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Peer Review

Peer Review is the process by which a scholarly journal has structured a reviewing system in that at least two reviewers, excluding in-house editors, evaluate each manuscript and advise the editor as to the acceptance or rejection of the work. “Refereed” is used interchangeably with peer-reviewed in academic journals.

Post-Print (or Author’s Accepted Manuscript)

Some publishers use this term to refer to a scholarly article in its final form, after it has gone through the peer review/refereeing process. Publishers often distinguish between pre- and post-prints in their policies on self-archiving articles. Post-prints are not the PDF produced by the publishers, but may be a Word or PDF version produced by the author. Since additional changes may occur during the Publisher’s production process, post-prints are not considered “the version of record” and thus are of lesser value than the published version of an article. This is the version of the article that comes after the Pre-Print and before the Publisher’s PDF.


A scholarly article submitted for publication but which has not yet gone through peer-review. This is the version of the work that comes before the Author Accepted Manuscript and the Publisher’s PDF.

Publisher PDF

The final peer reviewed version of a work, with copy editing and typesetting done by the publisher as published in the journal. This is the final “version of record” of the work and comes after the Pre-Print and the Author Accepted Manuscript.


SHERPA/RoMEO website provides an easy interface with information on publishers’ known policies regarding open sharing—whether publisher agreements allow a copy of authors’ papers to be shared or if the journal is an open access (peer reviewed) journal. It is searchable by either publisher name or journal title.