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Open Access

Open Access Defined

Open Access (OA) is defined as the free, immediate, and online availability of research publications (e.g., books, article) or other research outputs (e.g., data).  Supporters of OA state the open and unhindered availability of information will promote further research, encourage new creations, and improve lives.

Why OA?  According to open-access organization SPARC and its affiliates, the OA movement is a response to the discrepancy between how information is used, its availability, and its means of being distributed. 

  • Digital vs. Print Models of Distribution.  Information, research, and creative works are ever-increasingly available online and in digital formats and fewer are published in a print version.  People who want to see or use these works face technical, legal or financial barriers to getting it.  The business models used to share this information, created largely by academic/ scholarly publishers, do not consider what technological advances can do to make this information more available.

  • Research Funding and Availability of Information.  The OA movement addresses the equivocal business models used by publishers.  The work of researchers and creators are largely funded by institutions and public or private funds. The work is then published through academic publishers in various journals and other professional publications. To read and get access to this, users then have to pay the publisher indirectly (through being affiliated with a library or organization with a subscription to a publication) or directly (through paying for an article through a paywall). 

This business model was increasingly scrutinized during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Much information needed to support new research to respond to the pandemic was initially subscription-based or behind paywalls until some publishers either temporarily lifted these, or made some research tied to COVID-19 openly available during the first year of the pandemic.

  • Promoting Innovation, Ideas, and Research.  The discovery of new knowledge and creation of new ideas is accelerated by having access to information.  The OA movement asserts that great ideas need to be shared to be used by others.  Societal problems can be solved and more benefits can be gained if information is more open, free and available.

Open Access: A Response

Did you know...

...scholarly publishing companies are more profitable than those in tech and energy? 

...Open Access emerged as a response to the increasing costs of scholarly journal and publications while library budgets remained flat or found decreases in their funding. 

...Open Access aims to make scholarly work that is funded by universities and grants more widely available.

...Open Access also purports to give scholars and creators more permissions to reuse their research and creative works, to help them keep more of their rights to their work.

Open Access and Academic Publishers

Image source: Jill Cirasella and Les LaRue, permission by CC-BY-SA.

Organizations and Declarations

SHB Online (2019). What is open access? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne8kTJ0-fEM

Background and Development of OA

Various governmental, scholarly, and professional organizations from around the world have published statements in support of OA.  See the following for seminal statements. 

Find Open Access Publications

Open Access in the FAU Libraries Collections

Search OneSearch to find Open Access books, journals and other works.  Many of our journals provide hybrid Open Access to their articles, meaning that some of their articles are openly and freely available without a subscription.  Look for the OA logo (orange padlock) for those and other available publications!  Also, the Libraries' A - Z database provides Open Access sources:

Open Access Publications in FAU Libraries

FAU Libraries Open Access Repository and Publications

Last updated on May 13, 2022 9:39 AM