Q: How can I distinguish an open access journal from a subscription one?

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I confirmed the difference between the OA model and the subscription model in an article. According to the article, many journals provide both options. What exactly does this mean? How do I know which model a journal follows? Is there any point or keyword to understand that?

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Answer:

The subscription-based model and the open access model are two completely different models. Some journals are purely subscription based while others are purely OA. There is a third variety, known as hybrid journals, which are subscription-based, but offer to make some articles freely available if the author pays an article processing fee.

The journal website clearly mentions whether it is an open access, subscription-based, or hybrid journal.  However, if you cannot find this information, there is an additional point that will help you figure out which model of publication the journal follows is to have a look at the mode of payment. Traditional subscription-based journals commonly charge per page and per color figure. However, OA journals typically have just a flat article processing charge and do not charge per page or per figure. So, if the journal mentions an article processing charge, you can make out that it is an OA journal, and if per page charges are mentioned, you can understand that it is a subscription journal.

Recommended reading: What are the differences between open access and standard subscription-based publication?