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Open Access: What is Open Access?

An overview of open access (OA) basics and resources.

Links About Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access:

  • is information that is:
    • Free to read
    • 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 open access journals, subject specific and institutional repositories, where research is posted online for anyone to access. These are indexed by Google and other search engines increasing visibility and impact of the research.

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

For more benefits of open access visit these links:

Open Access 101, from SPARC

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.


Unless otherwise noted, all content on this guide is icensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License