Brandeis Library & Technology Services

What Is Open Access?

October 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

This week marks the 10th anniversary of Open Access Week, Oct. 23 to 29. Open Access Week is a annual international event sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) that promotes open access to peer-reviewed work as a new norm in research and scholarship.

This year’s theme is “Open in order to…,” which serves as a prompt to move beyond talking about openness in itself and focus on what openness enables—in an individual discipline, at a particular institution, or in a specific context—then to take action to realize these benefits.

So what exactly is open access (OA), and what does it mean for researchers?

An essential part of the research process is communicating the results. The OA movement promotes the idea that all research should be freely available and accessible online once published. However, cost or use restrictions can prevent the full community of potential users from accessing the information.

OA is continuing to gain support as more research funders and policy-makers endorse this new model of publishing. OA is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Just as authors of journal articles donate their labor, so do most journal editors and referees participating in peer review.

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