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Open Access

Open Access refers to literature that has been digitally published and that is freely available and is not necessarily subject to most of the copyright restrictions associated with more traditional forms of publication. 

The Open Access movement developed as a way to offer free access to current scholarship on the Internet.  This movement has greatly impacts how faculty and other experts publish their newest research.

Why is it important?

The Open Access movement greatly impacts how faculty and other experts are publishing new research articles.  Many academic and research groups support Open Access. These groups, like the Budapest Open Access Initiative, hope to gain more support for Open Access publishing and they look for the support of universities, scholars and authors to publish materials Open Access. 

Further, “many academic institutions around the world adopted Open Access Self-Archiving Policies that require faculty and researchers to deposit their final, peer-reviewed drafts in an Open Access institutional or central repository” (Boston College Open Access and Scholarly Publishing guide.)

What Does Open Access Really Mean?

Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) defines "open access" as follows:

“By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

What Does it Mean for You?

Open Access is changing how the world of academic publishing works, but for you, the push for Open Access creates more access to scholarly materials.  As more and more articles and research studies are published Open Access, you as a searcher have more free access to important publications.

What Are the Arguments for and against?

Not everyone supports Open Access. Here are some resources that round out this debate for you.

Boston College Open Access and Scholarly Publishing guide- Myths Debunked

MIT"s Open Access FAQ

More Resources on Understanding Open Access

Questions? eref@sdsu.edu