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University of Cambridge

Many terms used in scholarly communication are similar to, or the same as, those used in everyday life. This section defines commonly used terms.


Previously DSpace@Cambridge, the University of Cambridge’s institutional repository, established in 2002 as a service for storing and providing access to the outputs of Cambridge’s research activity. It is run by Cambridge University Libraries.

Article Processing Charges (APCs)

The fee a publisher charges for making articles Open Access at the time of publication. This is not the same as 'page charges' or 'colour charges'.

Author Accepted Manuscript

The author's final, peer reviewed and corrected manuscript, usually created in Word or LaTeX. When publishers require authors to upload their final manuscript into a formatted page, this document is considered to be the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) as it is distinguishable from the final published version because page numbers, volume and issue number are absent.


The Charities Open Access Fund is a partnership between six health research charities, including the Wellcome Trust which administers the COAF fund for the partners.


Copyright exists to protect the rights of the person(s) who has created a work and ensure that they receive due recognition for their contribution. As a property right is gives the copyright holder power over how the work is used, distributed and adapted for a set period of time.  It is part of a group of rights which protect intellectual property whilst at the same time encouraging creativity in the creation of new material. You can have a look at helpful information on the Office of Scholarly Communication website.

Date of publication

This is not as obvious as it first seems. According to Research England, the date of publication is 'the earliest date that the final Version of Record is made available on the publisher's website. This generally means that 'early online date', rather than the print publication date, should be taken as the date of publication.


Period during which an author’s research output is only available via the publisher’s journal/site; embargo periods differ from publisher to publisher; after the embargo period has ended, the research output (either the author’s accepted manuscript or the version of record) can be made freely available in Apollo.

Gold Open Access

Open access at the time of publication. Gold Open Access can be considered to be 'born Open Access'. Fully Open Access journals often (but not always) charge a fee for publication.

Green Open Access

Making a version of work (usually an AAM) available in an open access repository. These can be institutional such as Apollo the Cambridge repository or subject based, such as arXiv, PubMed Central, RePEc or SSRN. Placing work in ResearchGate or is not considered to be green open access. Green Open Access can be considered to be 'secondary Open Access'.

Hybrid journals

Hybrid journals are subscription journals that charge an extra fee to make a specific article Open Access while the remainder of the journal remains behind a paywall. This type of Gold Open Access is always accompanied by a fee.


Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use or manage an information resource.  Metadata is often called data about data or information about information.

The term 'documentation' encompasses all the information necessary to interpret, understand and use a given dataset or set of documents. On this website, we use 'documentation' and 'metadata' (data about data - usually embedded in the data files/documents themselves) interchangeably. Digital Curation Centre provides examples of disciplinary-specific metadata.

Open Access

Open access is making research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather then keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall. 


This is a term used for an early version of a research article. Preprints are often uploaded to preprint servers such as arXiv to be shared with colleagues and to receive comments. There can be several versions of a preprint as it is amended and worked on prior to submission to a journal.


The term porst print is used by some people to refer to the Author's Accepted Manuscript. It is a term that is not used much any more because of its ambiguity.


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It is administered by Research England, which was formerly the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).


An online database of Open Access works. Repositories do not undertake peer review but do hold material that has been peer reviewed elsewhere. In addition repositories can hold 'grey literature' such as Theses, Discussion Papers, Datasets and other material.

Submitted Manuscript

The Submitted Manuscript is the version of the work sent to a journal for peer review. It is sometimes referred to as a 'preprint'.

Symplectic Elements

Symplectic Elements (usually called Elements) is the University's research information management system, and provides a closed environment within which Cambridge researchers can create a profile and share information within the University of Cambridge community. It is administered by the Research Information Office.


UK Research and Innovation is a new body that emcompasses the seven UK Research Councils, Research England (formerly HEFCE) and Innovate UK.

Version of Record

This is the final published version of the article containing the publisher's copy edits and layout. Unless the article is appearing in a fully Open Access journal or we have paid for the work to be Open Access in a hybrid journal, this version is usually not permitted to be placed in an institutional repository or in academic social sharing sites such as ResearchGate or