This is the "What is Open Access?" page of the "Open Access" guide.
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An overview of open access (OA) basics and resources.
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

What is Open Access? Print Page

Open Access

Open Access Open Lock

Image courtesy of distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this guide is used and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Links About Open Access


What is Open Access?

Open Access:

  • is information that is:
    • Free
    • Unrestricted
    • Online
  • is a movement that wants to increase information access and innovation.
  • usually refers to open access publishing, particularly of scholarly communication in academia.
  • may be an answer to the serials / scholarly communication crisis, which refers to the system where information is locked up in subscription journals and databases whose prices keep rising (as library and university budgets stagnate or decrease) and universities and libraries are forced to pay for the creation of the research as well as to buy it back through subscriptions.
  • is about the democratization of information and knowledge.
  • is carried out largely through digital and institutional repositories, where research (including peer-reviewed journals) is posted online for anyone to access, which are indexed by Google and other search engines increasing visibility and impact of the research.

White House Open Access Memorandum

On February 22, 2013, the White House released a policy statement in support of open access to federally funded research output, including published scholarship and datasets.

The Memorandum, officially issued by the Director of the Executive Office of Science and Technology, requires that every Federal Agency with R&D expenditures of over $100 million develop a plan to support increased public access to federally funded research.  These plans, to be submitted to the White House within six months, are to include not only long-term preservation measures, but also mechanisms to ensure interoperability and improved access to and dissemination of federally funded research.  While recognizing the services provided by publishers, the President’s plan also suggests a maximum 12-month embargo period for articles in scholarly publications.


Open Access 101, from SPARC

What are the Advantages?

The advantages of open access are many:

  • Greater visibility and impact of research
  • Increased opportunity for collaboration
  • Easier access to information for anyone
  • Takes advantage of technology - text mining and the digital environment
  • Better return on investment for research sponsors
  • Encourages and enables greater innovation
  • Faster than traditional publishing
  • Contributes to education's mission of advancing knowledge

Open Access Increases Impact

Data Source:Steve Lawrence, “Online or Invisible?” Nature, 2001, 411 (6837): 521 ; Pre-print available as Open Access.
Image Source: Open Access: A SPARC Brochure. (c) 2004 SPARC Distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 License  

For more benefits of open access visit these links:

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