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Open Access (OA): About

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 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."

Peter Sauber (2010) A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access

Open Access...

IS the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research.

 

IS NOT our current system for communicating research which is crippled by a centuries old model that hasn’t been updated to take advantage of 21st century technology:

  1.  Governments provide most of the funding for research—hundreds of billions of dollars annually—and public institutions employ a large portion of all researchers.
  2.  Researchers publish their findings without the expectation of compensation. Unlike other authors, they hand their work over to publishers without payment, in the interest of advancing human knowledge.
  3. Through the process of peer review, researchers review each other’s work for free. 
  4. Once published, those that contributed to the research (from taxpayers to the institutions that supported the research itself) have to pay again to access the findings. Though research is produced as a public good, it isn’t available to the public who paid for it.

Our current system for communicating research uses a print-based model in the digital age. Even though research is largely produced with public dollars by researchers who share it freely, the results are hidden behind technical, legal, and financial barriers. These artificial barriers are maintained by legacy publishers and restrict access to a small fraction of users, locking out most of the world’s population and preventing the use of new research techniques.

(SPARC Open Access)

Open & Equitable Scholarship in the Liberal Arts - Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani

Open Access Explained

Further Definitions of Open Access

Considered the original defining statements on Open Access, the BBB (Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin) statements at the outset of the Open Access movement fundamentally shaped its future. 

Learn More: Open Access Tutorials

Acknowledgement

Thank you to the librarians at the University of the Fraser Valley and the University of Saskatchewan for creating exemplary Open Access guides from which much of this information was derived.