"Open Access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions" (Suber, 2012).
The existing system for producing and distributing publicly funded research articles doesn’t take advantage of the possibilities of innovations like open licensing. Without a free-flowing system, access to the results of scientific research is limited to institutions that are able to commit to hefty journal subscriptions. This doesn't allow for broad redistribution, or repurposing for activities such as text and data mining without additional permissions from the rights-holder. This closed system limits the impact on the scientific and scholarly community and progress is slowed significantly.
Open Access is the means of disseminating scholarly and scientific literature, free of charge over the internet and, to other researchers and anyone else who might benefit from accessing the results of research. Hence, Open Access communication of research outputs and the application of open licenses maximises the distribution, potential usage and outcomes of research findings.
In addition to maximising the distribution, potential usage and outcomes of research, there are other reasons for adopting Open Access practices:
There are multiple pathways to making your publications openly accessible:
"Green" Open Access is when a version of a published work (i.e. preprint or postprint, see 'Glossary of terms') is deposited into a repository where it can be accessed for free. The repository can be an institutional repository such as DR-NTU, subject-based repository such as arXiv and RePEc, or international repository such as PubMed Central and Europe PMC. The repository allows search engines such as Google to crawl their content so that the deposited articles are accessible on the Internet. These articles may have a Creative Commons License applied, which specifies how the article can be used.
Some publishers may require a 6-12 months embargo, before the article can be made available in the open repository. Information regarding the self-archiving policies of publishers can be found by searching at the Sherpa/Romeo website or publishers' websites directly.
“Gold” Open Access refers to publishing in a fully open access scholarly journal, where the publisher provides free and immediate online access to the full content of the journal and the final published articles are fully open access. Articles have a Creative Commons License applied, which specifies how the article can be used.
Business models for this form of open access vary. Publishers often charge an article processing charge (APC), which may be paid by the funder, author’s institution or an individual researcher.
Preprint is the draft of the manuscript before formal peer-review, or the first version sent to the journal for consideration.
Postprint is the version of the manuscript after formal peer-review, with changes made, but before being type-set by the publisher.
Published PDF is the version of the manuscript published in a journal with the journal's type-set and branding.
Some businesses exploit the academic need to publish and the open access publishing model by claiming to be a full-service publisher. Similary, they could be exploiting and profiting from researchers who are eager to present their research at an ‘international’ conference. Check out the LibGuide on Predatory Publishing and Conferences to find out more.