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Scholarly Communication: Open Access

What Is Open Access?

Open access (OA) literature is a method of sharing scholarship that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes OA possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.  OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.  OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature."

--From Open Access Overview, by Peter Suber

Open Access 101

Benefits of Open Access

Open Access is valuable because it:

  • removes all access barriers, providing completely free and unrestricted access to all
  • provides equitable distribution of information world-wide, regardless of social or economic status
  • provides immediate availability of research output
  • increases visibility and impact of research
  • increases usage of research results and leads to more citations
  • enhances reputation of authors and institutions
  • provides a platform for compliance with funder requirements
  • attracts potential collaborators
  • offers libraries a more financially attractive alternative to the traditional journal subscription model, where costs have increased significantly faster than the rate of inflation

Types of Open Access

Open Access Policies

Source - Coalition of Open Access Policies (COAPI)