What is Open Access?
Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it 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. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.
by Peter Suber
Open Access 101 from SPARC
Open Access Is ...
Open access is defined as the dissemination of scientific and scholarly research literature online, free of charge, and free of unnecessary licensing restrictions.
Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL)'s OA flyer outlines the basic what, why and how’s of open access for faculty.
Other definitions of OA
Open Access for Students
Developed in close collaboration with students, this guide is a tool student OA advocates will use to engage more of their peers. The Right to Research: helps students recognize the problem of access; introduces the principle of Open Access; indicates how Open Access can make life as a student easier, advance research, widen access to those who need it, and increase visibility for student scholars; and offers ways to support OA. New in January 2008.
This page is maintained by:
Inba Kehoe, Scholarly Communications/Publishing Librarian
Page updated: September, 2012