Open access is usually referred to as "GREEN" or "GOLD".
GREEN is the ability to archive a work. This could be preprint or post print depending on the publishers terms. AxXiv and CurateND are examples of repositories. Many universities have institutional repositories for green open access archived works.
GOLD is the published version of the work freely available and hosted by the publisher. Gold articles may appear in open access journals or in 'hybrid' journals. In most cases Gold open access involves an author Article Processing Charge (APC). PLoS is an example of a Gold open access publisher.
Hybrid journals offer an option for authors of accepted articles to pay, up-front, to have their articles open access. These journals will have both non-open and open content. Libraries may find the hybrid model objectionable because their subscription is paying to access content that is open access.
Open access journals that follow the highest standards of open access publishing may carry a seal from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The seal reflects only best practices as a publisher, not a statement of quality on the content.
Publishers often ask for your copyright when you submit articles for publication. You CAN grant publishers the rights they need while keeping your intellectual property. Consider Open Access journals or use the SPARC addendum.
You have the right to have your name associated with your work. Ensure your that research is associated with you and not with someone with a similar name by establishing an ORCID.
Your work is protected by copyrighted immediately, literally as soon as your finger hits the keyboard. Copyright protection for your works is the life of the author plus 70 years. As a researcher it's important to understand the rights of the copyright owner as distinct from rights of the creator and works for hire.
A Creative Commons license is a way to keep your copyright (ownership) while proactively granting others the ability to use your work such as using a graph or photograph of yours in another work. There are different types of Creative Commons licenses depending on whether or not you want to allow things such as commercial use.
Open Access is a way to make the results of results of research available to everyone without requiring a subscription or other form of payment.