Why Open Access?
Open-access is an important development for many reasons:
- Much current research is funded through federal grant money that comes from taxpayers. In the past, most research was published in non-OA journals which require subscriptions to access. Many groups, such as the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, have recognized that taxpayers are entitled to have access to research they have funded.
- OA gives authors a chance to share their work more broadly, which will, in turn, increase the impact of their work.
- OA eliminates the barriers that subscriptions place between researchers and research, and enables less well-funded researchers access to the same information as well-funded researchers.
- Non-OA journal prices have risen nearly 4 times faster than inflation. OA reduces the expenses paid for access to subscription-based journals. The Association of Research Libraries provides statistics on journal subscription inflation.
Suber, Peter. "A very brief introduction to open access." December 29, 2004. <http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/brief.htm>.
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." (Suber) OA can include data and other content as well.
Kinds of Open Access
There are two main types open-access content:
- OA Green content is usually stored in university, laboratory, or organizational archives or digital repositories. This type of material is submitted directly by the author - "self archived" - and the authors retain the right to make their material freely available. Sometimes this material is peer-reviewed, sometimes it is not.
- OA Gold content is frequently peer-reviewed and is published in journals. The journal publishers make the content freely available to the public. Expenses for peer-review, server space, preparation, and upkeep are covered through a variety of methods, including institutional subsidies, processing fees paid by the authors, or the organization that sponsored the work. About 5% of OA material is published in "gold" journals. Want to see examples of some OA Gold journals? Visit the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or arXiv.org.