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Scholarly Communication Services - Open Access

Open Access (OA)

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 is ever-increasingly available online and in digital formats.  Later works build off these, encourage research, and facilitate teaching and learning.  People who want to see or use many of these works, however, face technical, legal, or financial barriers to getting it.  The current models used to share this information, largely by academic/ scholarly publishers and other companies that distribute this information, 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 and used by others.  More problems can be solved and more benefits can be gained if information is more open, free, and available.

In This Guide

Related Guide

Open Access (OA) Essentials

Did you know that scholarly publishing is more profitable than tech and energy companies? 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.  OA aims to make scholarly work, that is funded by universities and grants, available to more people who could use it.  It also purports to give more permissions by scholars and creators to reuse their research, studies, and creative works and 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.

SHB Online (2019). What is open access? [Video]. YouTube.

Background & 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 Works

Did you know...?

...The FAU Libraries provides access to more than 70 OA publications! When looking through our A - Z database list, select "All Database Types" to limit your search examples.

Also, many of our subscribed journals provide hybrid OA, meaning that some articles are openly are freely available. Watch for the OA logo (orange padlock) for those and other available publications!

Open Access Publications in FAU Libraries

Workshops & Presentations on OA

Last updated on Nov 12, 2021 4:35 PM