FAQs – Open Access Survey

What does Open Access mean?

The aim of Open Access is to offer free, unlimited access to academic literature via the internet. This free access achieves greater visibility, which in turn leads to a higher citation frequency. In practice, two different paths for the implementation of Open Access have taken root: the "green" path and the "golden" path.

What is the green path?

The "green path" (external link) involves the self-archiving of academic papers on an institutional (e.g. ETH E-Collection (external link)) or subject-specific document server (e.g. arXiv.org (external link)).

What is the golden path?

The "golden path" (external link) refers to the primary publication of academic papers via an Open Access publisher. ETH Zurich supports this route by enabling its members to publish for free or with a discount in a series of Open Access journals.

What is ETH Zurich's Open Access policy?

ETH Zurich's goal is to render the research results obtained at the university accessible as fully as possible via the internet based on the principle of Open Access. In July 2008 the Executive Board agreed on an Open Access policy for the university, which calls upon all academic members of staff at ETH Zurich to actively help implement Open Access.

What is a document server or repository?

A document server (also repository or publication server) is a database for publishing and archiving electronic publications. A distinction is drawn between institutional and subject-specific document servers:

An institutional (often interdisciplinary) document server (e.g. ETH E-Collection) pools an institution’s research results. A subject-specific document server (e.g. arXiv.org, bioRxiv), on the other hand, pools the research results of individual subjects across institutions and countries.

What is ETH E-Collection?

ETH E-Collection (external link) is ETH Zurich's document server. This ETH-Bibliothek service offers all members of ETH Zurich a publication platform outside traditional publishing.

What are publication fees (APCs)?

Articles in Open Access journals are usually funded via publication fees – so-called Article Processing Charges (APCs) – which are either paid by the authors themselves (e.g. from research or project funds) or covered via their own institution's membership.

What is supplementary information and supplementary material?

Supplementary information and material is additional data belonging to an academic article that cannot be embedded in the article for reasons of space or the publication medium selected (e.g. films, sound files, Excel sheets or other external files).

What is a subscription journal?

For the right to access the full texts of a subscription journal, a licence fee needs to be paid to the publisher in question. The library covers the fee for a campus licence. By contrast, the contents of Open Access journals are freely accessible via the internet.

What is a hybrid journal?

Hybrid journals are traditional subscription journals that allow authors to render individual articles freely accessible on the internet after paying a fee (APCs).

What is an academic social network?

Academic social networks (e.g. Mendeley (external link), ResearchGate (external link), Academia.edu (external link)) enable researchers to build a network of contacts where information and resources can be exchanged. These networks were (in contrast to Facebook or Twitter) developed specifically for research communities.  

What is a preprint?

A preprint or non-peer-reviewed author’s manuscript is the version of a journal paper prior to the peer review process.

What is a postprint?

A postprint or AAM (Author's Accepted Manuscript) is the peer-reviewed author's manuscript. The postprint contains all changes and adjustments resulting from the peer review process. It is the manuscript most recently written by the author and accepted by the publisher for publication. The postprint is identical to the publisher's PDF in terms of content, but does not contain the publisher's layout or logo.  

What is the impact factor?

The impact factor indicates how often on average the articles in a journal are cited by authors in other publications. A high impact factor signifies that the journal is held in high regard.

What are page charges?

The "page charge" is a fee that the author pays to a subscription journal to publish an article.

What is the author's exploitation right?

In copyright law, the author's exploitation right means that the copyright holder of a work has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and exhibit it publicly.