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Open Access logo, originally designed by Public Library of Science

Open access (OA) comes in two forms, Gratis versus Libre: Gratis OA is free online access and Libre OA is free online access plus some additional usage rights.[1] OA's primary target content is articles published in scholarly journals.[2]

Open content is similar to OA, but usually includes the right to modify the work, whereas in scholarly publishing it is usual to keep an article's content intact and to associate it with a fixed author. Creative Commons licenses can be used to specify usage rights. OA is also similar to free content and can be extended to the learning objects and resources provided in e-learning.

OA can be provided in two ways[3]:

  • "Green OA"[4] is provided by authors publishing in any journal and then self-archiving their postprints in their institutional repository or on some other OA website.[5] Green OA journal publishers[6] endorse immediate OA self-archiving by their authors.
  • "Gold OA"[7] is provided by authors publishing in an open access journal that provides immediate OA to all of its articles on the publisher's website.[5] (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.)

Public access to the World Wide Web became widespread in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The low-cost distribution technology has fueled the OA movement, and prompted both the Green OA self-archiving of non-OA journal articles and the creation of Gold OA journals. Conventional non-OA journals cover publishing costs through access tolls such as subscriptions, site-licenses or pay-per-view. Some non-OA journals provide OA after an embargo period of 6-12 months or longer. See "Delayed open access journals"). Active debate over the economics and reliability of various ways of providing OA continues among researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, and society publishers.


Adoption statistics

About 15-20% of non-OA journal articles annually are being self-archived by their authors (green OA) [8] today and about 10-15% of the 20–25,000 peer-reviewed journals[9] are open access journals (gold OA), as indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals. Of the more than 10,000 non-OA peer-reviewed journals indexed in the Romeo directory of publisher policies[10] (which includes most of the journals indexed by Thomson-Reuters/ISI[11]), over 90% endorse some form of author self-archiving (green or "pale-green" OA): 62% endorse self-archiving the author's final peer-reviewed draft or postprint ("green journals"); 29% the pre-refereeing preprint ("pale-preen journals").[10]

Manner of distribution

Like the self-archived Green OA articles, most Gold OA journal articles are distributed via the World Wide Web,[2] due to low distribution costs, increasing reach, speed, and increasing importance for scholarly communication. Open source software is sometimes used for institutional repositories,[12] OA journal websites,[13] and other aspects of OA provision and OA publishing. Gratis OA articles are free online and Libre OA articles[1] have limited copyright and licensing restrictions.[citation needed]

Access to online content requires Internet access, and this distributional consideration presents physical and sometimes financial "barriers" to access. Proponents of OA argue that Internet access barriers are relatively low in many circumstances, that efforts should be made to subsidize universal Internet access, whereas pay-for-access presents a relatively high additional barrier over and above Internet access itself.

OA can be provided by traditional publishers, or under other arrangements. Some OA publishers, such as Public Library of Science (PLoS), publish only OA journals; others publish OA as well as subscription-based journals.

Methods of financing

Advertising is a major source of funding for mass media that do not charge for content, as well as modern web sites and search engines. Public broadcasting relies on government funding and voluntary donations from consumers.

Direct private funding from the author for web hosting is very common on the Internet, and is also a traditional mechanism for wealthy print authors. Non-profit organizations often freely distribute advocacy materials, and some fund free public art or the production of artistic works.

In scholarly publishing, there are many business models for OA journals. Some charge publication fees (paid by authors or by their funding agencies or employers) and some do not. Some of the no-fee journals have institutional subsidies and some do not. For more detail, see open access journals.

Roughly half[14] the Gold OA journals have author fees to cover the cost of publishing (e.g. PLoS fees vary from $1,300 to $2,850[15]) instead of reader subscription fees. Advertising revenue and/or funding from foundations and institutions are also used to provide funding.

Authors and researchers

The main reason authors make their articles openly accessible is to maximize their research impact. A study in 2001 first reported an OA citation impact advantage,[16] and a growing number of studies[17] have confirmed, with varying degrees of methodological rigor, that an OA article is more likely to be used and cited than one behind subscription barriers.[17] For example, a 2006 study in PLoS Biology found that articles published as immediate open access in PNAS were three times more likely to be cited than non-open access papers, and were also cited more than PNAS articles that were only self-archived.[18] This result has been challenged as possibly due to authors self-selectively making higher quality articles OA,[19] but a recent study comparing self-selected OA with mandated OA found that the the citation advantage remained just as big when the OA was mandated.[20].

Scholars are paid by research funders and/or their universities to do research; the published article is the report of the work they have done, rather than an item for commercial gain. The more the article is used, cited, applied and built upon, the better for research as well as for the researcher's career.[21][22] Similarly, the more quickly it is accessible, the better[21]; open access can reduce publication delays, an obstacle which led many research fields to traditions of widespread preprint access.[23]

Some professional organizations have encouraged use of OA: In 2001, the International Mathematical Union communicated to its members that "Open access to the mathematical literature is an important goal" and encouraging them to "[make] available electronically as much of our own work as feasible" to "[enlarge] the reservoir of freely available primary mathematical material, particularly helping scientists working without adequate library access."[24]

Authors who wish to make their work openly accessible have two options. One option is to publish in an OA journal ("Gold OA"). An open access journal may or may not charge a processing fee; open access publishing does not necessarily mean that the author has to pay. Traditionally, many academic journals levied page charges, long before open access became a possibility. When OA journals do charge processing fees, it is the author's employer or research funder who typically pays the fee, not the individual author, and many journals will waive the fee in cases of financial hardship, or for authors in less-developed countries.

The other option is author self-archiving ("Green OA"). To find out if a publisher or journal has given a green light to author self-archiving, the author can check the Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving list[25] on the SHERPA RoMEO web site. To find out by journal, the author can check the EPrints Romeo site,[26] which is derived from the SHERPA/RoMEO dataset. There is a self-archiving FAQ.[27] Extensive details and links can also be found in the Open Access Archivangelism blog[28] and the Eprints Open Access site.[29]

While open access is currently focused on scholarly research articles, any content creator who wishes to can share work openly, and decide how to make their content available. Creative Commons provides a number of licenses with which authors may easily indicate which uses are allowed.


For the most part, the direct users of research articles are other researchers. Open access helps researchers as readers by opening up access to articles that their libraries do not subscribe to. One of the great beneficiaries of open access may be users in developing countries, where there are currently some universities with no journal subscriptions at all[citation needed] – although schemes exist for providing subscription-only scientific publications to those affiliated to institutions in developing countries at little or no cost.[30] All researchers benefit from OA as no library can afford to subscribe to every scientific journal and most can only afford a small fraction of them – this is known as the serials crisis".[31]

Open access extends the reach of research beyond its immediate academic circle. An OA article can be read by anyone – a professional in the field, a researcher in another field, a journalist, a politician or civil servant, or an interested hobbyist. Indeed, a 2008 study revealed that mental health professionals are roughly twice as likely to read a relevant article if it is freely available.[32]

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists a number of peer-reviewed open access journals for browsing and searching. Open J-Gate [33] is another index of articles published in English language OA journals, peer reviewed and otherwise, which launched in 2006. Open access articles can also often be found with a web search, using any general search engine or those specialized for the scholarly/scientific literature, such as OAIster and Google Scholar. Results may include preprints that have not yet been peer reviewed, or gray literature that will remain unreviewed.

Research funders and universities

Research funding agencies and universities want to ensure that the research they fund and support in various ways has the greatest possible research impact.

Research funders are beginning to expect open access to the research they support. Forty-two of them (including all seven UK Research Councils[34]) have already adopted Green OA self-archiving mandates, and four more (including two in the US) have proposed to adopt mandates.[35]

Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council,[36] which made a commitment to open access in October 2004, has not yet adopted or proposed a mandate but the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) proposed a mandate in 2006 and adopted it in September 2007,[37] the first North American public research funder to do so.

The new U.S. National Institutes of Health's Public Access Policy took effect in April 2008 and states that "all articles arising from NIH funds must be submitted to PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication".[38] It stipulates self-archiving in PubMed Central rather than in the author's own institutional repository, which some consider a strength and others a weakness.

The Wellcome Trust's Position Statement in Support of Open and Unrestricted Access to Published Research from 2006 requires that "outputs from all Wellcome Trust-funded grants must be made freely available via UK PubMed Central - as soon as possible, and in any event no later than six months after publication".[39] It "will provide grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges, where appropriate, in order to meet the Trust's requirements.[40]

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Policy on Access to Research Outputs[41] provides a number of options to researchers, including publication in open access journals, or making their manuscripts available in an online repository such as PubMed Central Canada.

In March, 2006, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute announced its agreement with the publisher Elsevier, to pay a negotiated rate for 6-month embargoed access to all articles from scientists supported from that foundation in all Elsevier titles, including Cell Press.[42]

A growing number of universities are providing institutional repositories in which their researchers can deposit their published articles. Eighty-six individual universities and eighteen faculties and departments have already adapted self-archiving mandates (including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, U. College London, U. Edinburgh) and ten further individual multi-university mandates (in Europe and Brazil) have been proposed. Eprints maintains a Registry of OA Repository Material Archiving Policies (ROARMAP).[43] and EnablingOpenScholarship (EPS) provides universities with OA policy-building.[44]

In May 2005, 16 major Dutch universities cooperatively launched DAREnet, the Digital Academic Repositories, making over 47,000 research papers available to anyone with internet access.[45] From 1 January 2007, at the completion of the DARE programme, KNAW Research Information has taken over responsibility for the DAREnet portal. On 2 June 2008, DAREnet has been incorporated into the scholarly portal NARCIS.[46] At the end of 2009 NARCIS provides access to 185.000 open access publications from all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and a number of scientific institutes.

In April 2006, the European Commission[47] recommended:

  • EC Recommendation A1 : "Research funding agencies... should [e]stablish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives..."
    (This recommendation has since been updated and strengthened by the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB))

In May 2006, the US Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) was proposed toward improving the NIH Public Access Policy. Besides points about making open access mandatory, to which the NIH complied in 2008, it argues to extend self-archiving to the full spectrum of major US-funded research. In addition, the FRPAA would no longer stipulate that the self-archiving must be central; the deposit can now be in the author's own institutional repository (IR).

To somewhat improve on the EC's (and FRPAA's) allowable embargo (of up to six months), EURAB has revised the mandate: all articles must be deposited immediately upon acceptance: the allowable delay applies only to the time when access to the deposit must be made open access rather than to the time when it must be deposited. This is intended to permit individual users to use an eprint request "email eprint" button found on some archives to send a semi-automatic email message to the author requesting an individual eprint during the embargo period: This is not open access, but in the view of at least some advocates it provides for some needs during any embargo, and might help hasten the demise of embargoes altogether, while facilitating the adoption of self-archiving mandates by funders and universities.

Public and advocacy

Open access to scholarly research is argued to be important to the public for a number of reasons. One of the arguments for public access to the scholarly literature is that most of the research is paid for by taxpayers through government grants, who therefore have a right to access the results of what they have funded. This is one of the primary reasons for the creation of advocacy groups such as The Alliance for Taxpayer Access in the US.[48] Examples of people who might wish to read scholarly literature include individuals with medical conditions (or family members of such individuals) and serious hobbyists or 'amateur' scholars who may be interested in specialized scientific literature (e.g. amateur astronomers). Additionally, professionals in many fields may be interested in continuing education in the research literature of their field, and many businesses and academic institutions cannot afford to purchase articles from or subscriptions to much of the research literature that is published under a toll access model.

Even those who do not read scholarly articles benefit indirectly from open access[49]. For example, patients benefit when their doctor and other health care professionals have access to the latest research. As argued by open access advocates, open access speeds research progress, productivity, and knowledge translation [50]. Every researcher in the world can read an article, not just those whose library can afford to subscribe to the particular journal in which it appears. Faster discoveries benefit everyone. High school and junior college students can gain the information literacy skills critical for the knowledge age. Critics of the various open access initiatives point out that there is little evidence that a significant amount of scientific literature is currently unavailable to those who would benefit from it.[citation needed] While no library has subscriptions to every journal that might be of benefit, virtually all published research can be acquired via interlibrary loan.[citation needed]

Due to the benefits of open access, many governments are considering whether to mandate open access to publicly funded research. However, some organizations representing publishers, such as the DC Principles group in the United States, feel that such mandates are an unwarranted governmental intrusion in the publishing marketplace. Lobbying on both sides is fierce, both for pro-OA and contra-OA.

In developing nations, open access archiving and publishing acquires a unique importance. Scientists, health care professionals, and institutions in developing nations often do not have the capital necessary to access scholarly literature, although schemes exist to give them access for little or no cost. Among the most important is HINARI,[51] the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, sponsored by the World Health Organization. HINARI, however, also has restrictions. For example, individual researchers may not register as users unless their institution has access,[52] and several countries that one might expect to have access do not have access at all (not even "low-cost" access) (e.g. South Africa).[52]

Many open access projects involve international collaboration. For example the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SCIELO),[53] is a comprehensive approach to full open access journal publishing, involving a number of Latin American countries. Bioline International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping publishers in developing countries is a collaboration of people in the UK, Canada, and Brazil; the Bioline International Software is used around the world. Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), is a collaborative effort of over 100 volunteers in 45 countries. The Public Knowledge Project in Canada developed the open source publishing software Open Journal Systems (OJS), which is now in use around the world, for example by the African Journals Online[54] group, and one of the most active development groups is Portuguese.

A 2004 study of open access publishing by Kristin Antelman found that in philosophy, political science, electrical and electronic engineering and mathematics, open access papers had a greater research impact.[55]

Libraries and librarians

Many librarians have been vocal and active advocates of open access. These librarians believe that open access promises to remove both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine library efforts to provide access to the journal literature[56], see also the Serials crisis. Many library associations have either signed major open access declarations, or created their own. For example, the Canadian Library Association endorsed a Resolution on Open Access in June 2005.[57] Librarians also educate faculty, administrators, and others about the benefits of open access. For example, the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association has developed a Scholarly Communications Toolkit.[58] The Association of Research Libraries has documented the need for increased access to scholarly information, and was a leading founder of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).[59]

At most universities, the library houses the institutional repository, which provides free access to scholarly work of the university's faculty. Some open access advocates believe that institutional repositories will play a very important role in responding to open access mandates from funders[60]. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has a program[61] to develop institutional repositories at all Canadian university libraries.

An increasing number of libraries provide hosting services for open access journals. A recent survey by the Association of Research Libraries [62] found that 65% of surveyed libraries either are involved in journal publishing, or are planning to become involved in the very near future.


The roots of the concept of open access can be found in the distant past, from the very beginnings of publishing, re-emerging with every innovation in publishing technology. The printing press allowed the written word to be printed and distributed, thereby extending literacy to the population at large. Moving from vellum to paper made it possible to print more cheaply. The invention of the postal system provided a means of widespread distribution.

The beginnings of the scholarly journal were a way of expanding low-cost access to scholarly findings. Many individuals anticipated the open access concept long before modern low-cost distribution methods. One early proponent was the physicist Leo Szilard. To help stem the flood of low-quality publications, he jokingly suggested in the 1940s that at the beginning of his career each scientist should be issued with 100 vouchers to pay for his papers. The Common Knowledge project was an attempt to share information for the good of all, the brainchild of Brower Murphy, formerly of The Library Corporation. Brower and Common Knowledge are recognised in the Library Microcomputer Hall of Fame.[63]

The modern Open Access movement (as a social movement) traces its history at least back to the 1960s, but became much more prominent in the 1990s with the advent of the Digital Age. With the spread of the Internet and the ability to copy and distribute electronic data at no cost, the arguments for open access gained new importance.

Probably the earliest book publisher to provide open access was the National Academies Press, publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and other arms of the National Academies. They have provided free online full-text editions of their books alongside priced, printed editions since 1994, and assert that the online editions promote sales of the print editions. As of June 2006 they had more than 3,600 books up online for browsing, searching, and reading.

An explosion of interest and activity in open access journals has occurred since the 1990s, largely due to the widespread availability of Internet access. It is now possible to publish a scholarly article and also make it instantly accessible anywhere in the world where there are computers and Internet connections. The fixed cost of producing the article is separable from the minimal marginal cost of the online distribution.

These new possibilities emerged at a time when the traditional, print-based scholarly journals system was in a crisis. The number of journals and articles produced has been increasing at a steady rate; however the average cost per journal has been rising at a rate far above inflation for decades, and budgets at academic libraries have remained fairly static. The result was decreased access - ironically, just when technology has made almost unlimited access a very real possibility, for the first time. Libraries and librarians have played an important part in the open access movement, initially by alerting faculty and administrators to the serials crisis. The Association of Research Libraries developed the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), in 1997, an alliance of academic and research libraries and other organizations, to address the crisis and develop and promote alternatives, such as open access.

The first online-only, free-access journals (eventually to be called "open access journals") began appearing in the late 1980s. Among them was Bryn Mawr Classical Review[64], Postmodern Culture[65] and Psycoloquy[66].

The first free scientific online archive was, started in 1991, initially a preprint service for physicists, initiated by Paul Ginsparg. Self-archiving has become the norm in physics, with some sub-areas of physics, such as high-energy physics, having a 100% self-archiving rate. The prior existence of a "preprint culture" in high-energy physics is one major reason why arXiv has been successful.[67] arXiv now includes papers from related disciplines, such as computer science and mathematics, but computer scientists mostly self-archive on their own websites and have been doing so for even longer than physicists. (Citeseer is a computer science archive that harvests, Google-style, from distributed computer science websites and institutional repositories and contains almost twice as many papers as arxiv.) arXiv now includes postprints as well as preprints.[68] The two major physics publishers (American Physical Society and Institute of Physics Publishing have reported that arXiv has had no effect on journal subscriptions in physics; even though the articles are freely available, usually before publication, physicists value their journals and continue to support them.[69]) [70]

The inventors of the Internet and the Web -- computer scientists—had been self-archiving on their own FTP sites and then their websites since even earlier than the physicists, as was revealed when Citeseer began harvesting their papers in the late 1990s. The 1994 "Subversive Proposal"[71] was to extend self-archiving to all other disciplines; from it arose CogPrints (1997) and eventually the OAI-compliant generic GNU software in 2000.[72]

In 1997, the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) made Medline, the most comprehensive index to medical literature on the planet, freely available in the form of PubMed. Usage of this database increased a hundredfold when it became free, strongly suggesting that prior limits on usage were impacted by lack of access. While indexes are not the main focus of the open access movement, free Medline is important in that it opened up a whole new form of use of scientific literature - by the public, not just professionals.

In 1998, the American Scientist Open Access Forum [73] was launched (and first called the "September98 Forum"). The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)[74],one of the first Open Access journals in medicine, was created in 1998, publishing its first issue in 1999.

In 1999, Harold Varmus of the NIH proposed a journal called E-biomed, intended as an open access electronic publishing platform combining a preprint server with peer-reviewed articles. E-biomed later saw light in a revised form[75] as PubMed Central, a postprint archive.

It was also in 1999 that the Open Archives Initiative and its OAI-PMH protocol for metadata harvesting was launched in order to make online archives interoperable.

In 2000, BioMed Central, a for-profit open access publisher, was launched by the then Current Science Group (the founder of the Current Opinion series, and now known as the Science Navigation Group) [76]. In some ways, BioMed Central resembles Harold Varmus' original E-biomed proposal more closely than does PubMed Central [77]. BioMed Central now publishes over 170 journals [78].

In 2001, 34,000 scholars around the world signed "An Open Letter to Scientific Publishers",[79] calling for "the establishment of an online public library that would provide the full contents of the published record of research and scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form". Scientists signing the letter also pledged not to publish in or peer-review for non-open access journals. This led to the establishment of the Public Library of Science, an advocacy organization. However, most scientists continued to publish and review for non-open access journals. PLoS decided to become an open access publisher aiming to compete at the high quality end of the scientific spectrum with commercial publishers and other open access journals, which were beginning to flourish [80]. Critics have argued that, equipped with a $10 million grant, PLoS competes with smaller OA journals for the best submissions and runs danger to destroy what it originally wanted to foster [81].

The first major international statement on open access[82] was the Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002, launched by the Open Society Institute .[83] This provided a definition of open access, and has a growing list of signatories.[84] Two further statements followed: the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing[85] in June 2003 and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in October 2003.

In 2003, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities was drafted and the World Summit on the Information Society included open access in its Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.

In 2006, a Federal Research Public Access Act was introduced in US Congress by senators John Cornyn and Joe Lieberman.[86][87] The act is awaiting reintroduction in the 110th Congress.

The idea of mandating self-archiving was mooted at least as early as 1998.[88] Since 2003[89] efforts have been focused on open access mandating by the funders of research: governments,[90] research funding agencies,[91] and universities.[35] These efforts have been fought by the publishing industry[92]. However, many countries, funders, universities and other organizations have now either made commitments to open access, or are in the process of reviewing their policies and procedures, with a view to opening up access to results of the research they are responsible for.

For more on the history of open access, see Peter Suber's "Timeline of the Open Access Movement",[93]. One of the many librarians who have been leaders in the self-archiving approach to open access is Hélène Bosc; her work can be found in her "15-year retrospective".[94] Richard Poynder, a freelance journalist, contributes to a blog on open access, "Open and Shut?". He has written a series of interviews with a few of the leaders of the open access movement.


Opponents of the open access model assert that the pay-for-access model is necessary to ensure that the publisher is adequately compensated for their work. Scholarly journal publishers that support pay-for-access claim that the "gatekeeper" role they play, maintaining a scholarly reputation, arranging for peer review, and editing and indexing articles, require economic resources that are not supplied under an open access model, though acknowledging that open access journals do provide peer review. The cost of paper publication may also make open access to paper copies infeasible. Opponents claim that open access is not necessary to ensure fair access to developing nations; differential pricing, or financial aid from developed countries or institutions can make access to proprietary journals affordable. Conventional journal publishers may also lose customers to open access publishers who compete with them. The Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), a lobbying organization formed by the Association of American Publishers (AAP), is opposed to the open access movement. [2] PRISM and AAP have lobbied against the increasing trend amongst funding organizations to require open publication, describing it as "government interference" and a threat to peer review. [3]

Textbook publishers generally make an even greater investment in the editing process, and electronic textbooks have yet to become widely accepted. For researchers, publishing an article describing novel results in a reputable scientific journal usually does more to enhance one's reputation among scientific peers, and advance one's academic career. Journal article authors are generally not directly financially compensated for their work beyond their institutional salaries and the indirect benefits that an enhanced reputation provides in terms of institutional funding, job offers, and peer collaboration. It could be argued, then, that the financial reward from writing a successful textbook is an important motivating factor, without which the quality and quantity of available textbooks would decrease.

There are those who think that open access is unnecessary or even harmful. It has been argued that there is no need for those outside major academic institutions to have access to primary publications, at least in some fields.[95]

In the entertainment industry, it is argued that, unlike science, there is no pressing social need for widespread and barrier-free access to the content.


Funding issues

The open access model shifts one payment burden to authors from publishers (or perhaps subscribers), which creates a new set of concerns. Budget processes may need adjustments to provide funding for the "article processing charges" required to publish in almost all open access journals, e.g. those published by BioMed Central [4]. Unless steps are taken to address this issue, such as offering discounts to authors from countries with low incomes or external funding for open access journals, article processing charges allegedly risk excluding authors from developing countries or less well-funded research fields from publishing in open access journals. Self-archiving has been proposed as an alternative model.

Outside of science and academia, it is unusual for producers of creative output to be financially compensated on anything other than a pay-for-access model. (Notable exceptions include open source software and public broadcasting.) Successful writers, for example, support themselves by the revenues generated by people purchasing copies of their works; publishing houses are able to finance the publication of new authors based on anticipated revenues from sales of those that are successful. Opponents of open access would argue that without direct financial compensation via pay-for-access, many authors would be unable to afford to write, though some would accept the economic hardship of holding down a day job while continuing to write as a "labor of love".

Citation Study

A study published in the British Medical Journal[96] disputes the claim that open access articles equal more citations. In the study, researchers from Cornell University randomly made some journal articles freely available while keeping others available by subscription only in order to determine whether increased access to journal articles results in more article downloads and citations. They found, in an interim analysis, that in the first year after the articles were published, open-access articles were downloaded more but were no more likely to be cited than subscription-based articles.[97] However, many responses to the paper argue that the interim analysis was premature.[98]

Comparison with other media

Many traditional media such as certain newspapers, television, and radio broadcasts could be considered "open access". These include commercial broadcasting and free newspapers supported by advertising, public broadcasting, and privately funded political advocacy materials. Minor barriers are also present in other media: broadcast media require receiving equipment, online content requires Internet access, and locally distributed printed media requires transportation to a distribution point.

Many other types of material can also be published in this manner: magazines and newsletters, e-text or other e-books, music, fine arts, or any product of intellectual activity.

See also


Related types of content

Open access publishers


  1. ^ a b Peter Suber: Gratis and libre Open Access
  2. ^ a b Peter Suber: Open Access Overview (definition, introduction)
  3. ^ Keith G. Jeffery: Open Access: An Introduction
  4. ^ Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition. In: The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the Electronic Age, pp. 99-105, L'Harmattan
  5. ^ a b The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access: An Update
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ - The Global Source for Periodicals
  10. ^ a b Journal Policies - Summary Statistics So Far
  11. ^ Web of Knowledge - ISI Web of Knowledge
  12. ^ Budapest Open Access Initiative
  13. ^ Open Journal Systems | Public Knowledge Project
  14. ^ "Open Access Overview", Peter Suber, June 19, 2007
  15. ^ Publication Fees for PLoS Journals
  16. ^ Online or Invisible? Steve Lawrence; NEC Research Institute
  17. ^ a b Effect of OA on citation impact: a bibliography of studies
  18. ^ Eysenbach G (2006). PLoS Biology - Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles. PLoS Biol 4(5): e157 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040157
  19. ^ Getting cited: does open access help?
  20. ^ Gargouri, Y., Hajjem, C., Lariviere, V., Gingras, Y., Brody, T., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2010) Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research
  21. ^ a b Maximising the Return on the UK's Public Investment in Research - Open Access Archivangelism
  22. ^
  23. ^ Gentil-Beccot, Anne; Salvatore Mele, Travis Brooks (2009) Citing and Reading Behaviours in High-Energy Physics: How a Community Stopped Worrying about Journals and Learned to Love Repositories
  24. ^ Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union (15 May 2001). "Call to All Mathematicians". 
  25. ^ SHERPA/RoMEO - Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving
  26. ^ Journal Policies - Self-Archiving Policy By Journal
  27. ^ Self-Archiving FAQ
  28. ^ Open Access Archivangelism
  29. ^ Open Access
  30. ^ Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
  31. ^ Periodicals Price Survey 2005: Choosing Sides - 4/15/2005 - Library Journal
  32. ^ Diffusion of Treatment Research: Does Open Access Matter?
  33. ^ World's biggest Open Access English Language Journals Portal - OPEN J-Gate
  34. ^ Access to Research Outputs
  35. ^ a b Roarmap
  36. ^ SSHRC/CRSH - Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council / Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines
  37. ^ OA Self-Archiving Policy: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  38. ^ Public Access Homepage
  39. ^ Update: Open access reminder
  40. ^ Policy
  41. ^
  42. ^ Hughes Institute's Deal With Elsevier Will Open Up Access to Its Researchers' Work
  43. ^ Roarmap
  44. ^
  45. ^ Dutch academics declare research free-for-all
  46. ^ Portal NARCIS
  47. ^ Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe
  48. ^ ATA | The Alliance for Taxpayer Access
  49. ^ Open Access: Basics and Benefits
  50. ^ Eysenbach, Gunther. The Open Access Advantage. J Med Internet Res 2006;8(2):e8.
  51. ^ World Health Organization Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative
  52. ^ a b World Health Organization: Eligibility
  53. ^ SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online
  54. ^ AJOL - African Journals Online :: African Research, Journals, Medical Research
  55. ^ Kristin Antelman (September 2004). "Do Open-Access Articles Have a Greater Research Impact?". College & Research Libraries 65(5). pp. 372–382.  and summarized by C&RL News
  56. ^ Peter Suber, "Introduction to Open Access for Librarians"
  57. ^
  58. ^ ALA Scholarly Communication Toolkit
  59. ^ Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  60. ^ How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates
  61. ^ CARL - Online Resource Portal
  62. ^ Peter Suber, Open Access News
  63. ^ WLN: Library Microcomputer Hall of Fame
  64. ^ The Bryn Mawr Classical Review
  65. ^ Project MUSE - Postmodern Culture
  66. ^ Welcome to PsycPrints
  67. ^ [physics/0102004] Predecessors of preprint servers
  68. ^ Self-Archiving FAQ
  69. ^ Institute of Physics - Home of the Institute of Physics
  70. ^ Open access self-archiving: An Introduction - ECS EPrints Repository
  71. ^ Association of Research Libraries :: Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads: A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing
  72. ^ D-Lib - In Brief (October 2000)
  73. ^ Archives Of American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum@Listserver.Sigmaxi.Org
  74. ^ JMIR Home
  75. ^ PubMed Central: An NIH-Operated Site for Electronic Distribution of Life Sciences Research Reports
  76. ^ BioMed Central | about us | Press releases<
  77. ^ Interview with Vitek Tracz: Essential for Science
  78. ^ BioMed Central | for authors | Overview<
  79. ^ Public Library of Science: Read the Open Letter
  80. ^ PLoS Biology - Why PLoS Became a Publisher
  81. ^ Open-access journal hits rocky times : Article : Nature<
  82. ^ Budapest Open Access Initiative
  83. ^ Budapest Open Access Initiative, FAQ
  84. ^ Budapest Open Access Initiative
  85. ^ Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing
  86. ^ Robin Peek, The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 , May 8, 2006
  87. ^ Federal Research Public Access Act
  88. ^ American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum: Re: Savings from Convertin
  89. ^ AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM archives - 2003 (#710)
  90. ^ Recommendations For Uk Open-Access Provision Policy
  91. ^ Access to Research Outputs
  92. ^ PRISM
  93. ^ Peter Suber, Open-Access Timeline (formerly: FOS Timeline)
  94. ^ Communication scientifique et Internet
  95. ^ DLIST - Open Access: What Comes Next
  96. ^ Open access publishing, article downloads, and citations: randomised controlled trial BMJ 2008(31 July);337:a568
  97. ^ Free Articles Get Read but Don't Generate More Citations Newswise, Retrieved on July 31, 2008.
  98. ^ Rapid Responses to BMJ 2008;337:a568

Further reading

Empirical studies

(See also the Bibliography of Findings on the Open Access Impact Advantage)

External links


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