Open Access is a broad term that refers to publications in various states of “openness”, meaning that no subscription or paywall prevents you from accessing a given journal or, in many cases, just a specific article. Some publishers are entirely Open Access, some just allow Open Access for certain publications, and some allow Open Access just for individual articles (there is usually an additional fee associated with this).
Open Access publications usually leave copyright in the hands of the author (as opposed to the publisher), and allow for varying degrees of re-use (commercial, non-commercial) under a Creative Commons License. Here’s a short guide to the different types of Open Access publications.
Technically the DOE’s mandate is “Public Access” since not all publications covered by the policy appear in OA publications. This is why, in many cases, uploading the final published article into the Elements publications management database is not permitted.
We’re working to compile helpful resources for scientists looking to publish in Open Access venues. Check this work in progress List periodically for updates or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or requests. Open Access Journals listed here are categorized here as “Gold”, meaning the entire journal is Open Access, or “Hybrid” meaning a number of possibilities exist for Open Access publishing in that specific journal. To find out more about a specific journal you can visit the journal website, or Journal Citation Reports. You can also search for Open Access titles in addition to those listed here, using the Directory of Open Access Journals.
NOTE: Some predatory publishers also “publish” Open Access. There’s no independent body that officially labels an organization “predatory” but you can access a pretty thorough list here.