Introduction to Open Access
What exactly is Open Access and why is it good? Here is a brief explanation from the MLibrary Copyright Office. See the FAQs for more information.
Click on each topic for more information.
Open Access (OA) literature is peer-reviewed, scholarly work that is available online for free, immediate, and permanent access. OA literature is free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA is a kind of access. Anyone who has access to the Internet may read, download, store, print, use, and data-mine the digital content of Open Access works. The Internet makes it possible to share work widely and inexpensively. Publishers and authors use Open Access to make work available to a broad community of readers rather than limiting the readership to libraries or institutions that can afford subscription fees.
Open Access journals are more discoverable by scholars and the public than their non-OA counterparts. This increases the likelihood that others will find your material thus aiding in the wider dissemination of the work and the potential impact of the article. It is estimated that there is an increase in article citation between 17% and 250% with downloads of Open Access articles double that of their non-OA counterparts ("The Antaeus column: does the 'open access' advantage exist? A librarian's perspective").
The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) advocates and educates about the benefits of Open Access publishing. Read more here: Research is more valuable when it's shared
Additionally, Science Commons (associated with Creative Commons) produced a video explaining the benefits of sharing your research. See the video here: "Science Commons" - a short video by Jesse Dylan
Open Access came out of a desire to share scholarly communication with the world and a practical assessment of the scholarly publishing landscape. Over the years, academic journal prices have continued to rise faster than inflation; meanwhile library budgets continue to become more constrained (see SPARC Journal Pricing). Libraries are forced to make hard decisions about what journals they are able to provide their faculty and students. Open Access Publishing provides one way to ensure access while keeping costs down.