In the days of print publication, authors recieved a number of "pre-print" copies of their journal articles, run off before the final, softbound copies of the journal were printed. These copies were free for the author to send out to other scholars.
What is a pre-print?
Pre-prints can be:
A draft copy of an article that you share with colleagues to get informal feedback.
A copy of the pre-peer-review, pre-corrections, or just pre-publication (sometimes called 'post-print')version of the article.
Downloading a copy of the printed PDF and sharing it is usually forbidden by the copyright agreement authors sign, but a significant number of publishers allow the posting of pre-publication or pre-corrections versions on open access repositories.
In the old-school print world, the terms 'pre-print' and 'off-print' were used for author's copies-- typeset copies of articles published in printed journals that were distributed to the authors for distribution to colleagues. Scholars sometimes use that terminology today, but publishers now prefer the term 'Publishers version/PDF' and generally disallow the self-archiving of these versions.
Open Access journals don't charge a subscription fee to read/view their contents.
Check out the Directory of Open Access journals: https://doaj.org/
This chart from the University of California Summarizing Open Access Strategies gives a good summary of the differences between the two approaches and the Self-Archiving (Green) option discussed above: https://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/groups/files/about/docs/UC-Libraries-Pathways%20to%20OA-Chart.pdf
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Drew University Library, http://www.drew.edu/library