Open access is an academic movement whose objective is to provide free online access to academic/scientific information. In this sense, open access is a valuable alternative to traditional publication methods that reach only a limited audience.
In order to announce your work on open access there are two options available:
the 'green road':
The green road is based on self-archiving. Before or after publication, a researcher will upload the ‘post-reviewed preprint’ of her/his article to a repository (a publicly accessible database) rendering the publication freely available to the rest of the world. This will, of course, be subject to the applicable copyright restrictions.
the 'golden road':
When the gold road option is chosen, the publication will immediately be rendered available in open access journals, via the website of the publisher. This option is usually not free of charge. The publication costs -referred to as ‘article processing charges’ (APCs) - are paid by the author or the institution where s/he is employed. These publication fees vary between 0 and 2,500 euros; in exceptional cases a fee as high as 5,000 euros can even be charged.
Why make your work available in Open Access?
the visibility of your publication grows;
because open access publications are easily accessible, they are more widely circulated and cited;
readers with limited financial means also have access to your work;
a lot of scientific work is being financed by public means; it is fair to have the results of this research open to all.
Making copyrighted material accessible via open access channels does not automatically mean that the author will lose her/his rights or that the commercialisation of the copyrighted material will be impeded. In principle authors of open access publications channels will also retain their rights, which users must observe at all times!