Skip to Main Content

Faculty Toolkit: Scholarly Communication: Open Access

Open Access Tools

Open Access Publishing

In traditional publishing agreements authors cede most rights, including copyright, to the journal. Readers must pay for the privilege to read these materials, and their use or re-use is restricted by copyright.

Open access provides a new model for publishing and accessing research. Authors employ Creative Commons licenses, which "make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited."

According to PLOS the benefits of open access include:

  • Accelerated discovery. With open access, researchers can read and build on the findings of others without restriction.
  • Public enrichment. Much scientific and medical research is paid for with public funds. Open Access allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment.
  • Improved education. Open Access means that teachers and their students have access to the latest research findings throughout the world.

 Open access publications are classified according to their level free availability:

  • Green Open Access is provided by authors publishing in any journal and then self-archiving their post prints in their institutional repository or on some other OA website. Green OA journal publishers endorse immediate OA self-archiving by their authors.
  • Gold Open Access is provided by authors publishing in an open access journal that provides immediate OA to all of its articles on the publisher's website.
  • Hybrid Open Access journals provide Gold OA only for those individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay an OA publishing fee.

For answers to controversial questions about open access read this short piece by Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office of Scholarly Communication, "Open Access: Six Myths Put to Rest."

Why Open Access?