If an article is "Open Access" it means that it can be freely accessed by anyone in the world using an internet connection. This means that the potential readership of Open Access articles is far, far greater than that for articles where the full-text is restricted to subscribers. Evidence shows that making research material Open Access increases the number of readers and significantly increases citations to the article - in some fields increasing citations by 300%.
It is important to point out that Open Access does not affect peer-review; articles are peer-reviewed and published in journals in the normal way. There is no suggestion that authors should use repositories instead of journals. Open Access repositories supplement and do not replace journals. Some authors have feared that wider availability will increase plagiarism: in fact, if anything, Open Access serves to reduce plagiarism. When material is freely available the chance that plagiarism is recognised and exposed is that much higher.
Published research results and ideas are the foundation for future progress. Open Access publishing therefore leads to wider dissemination of information and increased efficiency in any research area, by providing:
Open Access to ideas
Whether you are a patient seeking health information, an educator wishing to enliven a lesson plan, or a researcher looking to formulate a hypothesis, making papers freely available online provides you with the most current peer-reviewed information and discoveries.
Open Access to the broadest audience
As a researcher, publishing in an open access journal allows anyone with an interest in your work to read it - and that translates into increased usage and impact.
Various publishers have introduced the option for authors to make their work available as Open Access through payment of an APC. The Library has been approached to fund these charges at different times.
APCs in many cases simply move the cost from the consumer end of the publishing cycle (e.g. libraries) to the production side (the researcher) without necessarily creating any positive changes to the business model.
The Open Access movement is the worldwide effort to provide free online access to scientific and scholarly research literature, especially peer-reviewed journal articles and their preprints.
The Open Access movement started out with a series of statements or declarations. Historically the movement has progressed and gained momentum since 2002 through three major statements made in Budapest, Betheseda and Berlin (see links below).
Now Open Access is on a roll. Recent Funder Mandates — including that of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (the world’s largest research funder), which now requires that all their funded research be placed in an openly accessible database, and Harvard University — have further strengthened the prospects for Open Access to all research. Locally the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have both adopted funder manadates. AOASG have written a summary and comparision of the ARC and NHMRC mandates (see the final link below).
AOASG have developed a list of Open Access FAQs, including:
See the link below for more information.