The traditional scholarly publication model is a cycle involving researchers, publishers, peer reviewers, editors, and libraries. First, the researchers conduct research and then report this research by submitting manuscripts to publishers. The publishers will review the manuscripts to decide whether they will go on to peer reviewers, who will make editorial suggestions to the researchers.
Upon the researchers satisfying the peer reviewers' editorial suggestions, the publishers will publish the manuscripts as articles in their journals. The journals are then disseminated to other researchers through libraries' journal subscriptions or, in some cases, personal subscriptions.
Libraries will further preserve the journals for availability in the future. The researchers who access the journals will in turn build off past research as they conduct new research, initiating another cycle of this traditional publishing model.
The costs involved in this model almost always include a subscription cost for libraries and other journal subscribers. Often researchers are charged a "page fee" if the submitted and reviewed manuscript is over a certain length. Generally, researchers and peer reviewers are not paid for their contribution, and the publishers usually make a profit.
An "embargo" is a designated period of time during which a publisher will not make the journal's articles freely available. Embargoes may be as short as a few months or longer than two years. Once the embargo period has passed, the articles from these traditional journals may then be freely accessed like open access journals.