What is Open Access?
By Open Access, we mean the free, immediate, availability on the public Internet of those works which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment – permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software or use them for any other lawful purpose.
Open access is a broad international movement that seeks to grant free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data. A publication is defined ‘open access’ when there are no financial, legal or technical barriers to accessing it – that is to say when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or in any other way within the legal agreements.
Open access is a publishing model for scholarly communication that makes research information available to readers at no cost, as opposed to the traditional subscription model in which readers have access to scholarly information by paying a subscription (usually via libraries).
One of the most important advantages of open access is that it increases the visibility and reuse of academic research results. There is also criticism, and the aspect of quality deserves extra effort. The principles of open access are set out in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003). This declaration has been signed by many international organizations for academic research, including all Dutch universities and research organizations.
Why Open Access?
Funders invest in research in order to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and stimulate the economy – to improve the public good. They recognize that broad access to the results of research is an essential component of the research process itself. Research advances only through sharing of results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results. Yet, too often, research results are not available to the broadest community of potential users. The Internet provides a new opportunity to bring information to a wider audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allow them to use it in new, innovative ways. This has resulted in a call for new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used—a call for Open Access.
Who Benefits from Open Access?
- Increases readers’ ability to find use relevant literature
- Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works
- Creates new avenues for discovery in digital environment
- Enhances interdisciplinary research
- Accelerates the pace of research, discovery and innovation
- Educational Institutions:
- Contributes to core mission of advancing knowledge
- Democratizes access across all institutions – regardless of size or budget
- Provides previously unattainable access to community colleges, two-year colleges, K-12 and other schools
- Provides access to crucial STEM materials
- Increases competitiveness of academic institutions
- Enriches the quality of their education
- Ensures access to all that students need to know, rather what they (or their school) can afford
- Contributes to a better-educated workforce
- Research Funders:
- Leverages return on research investment
- Creates tool to manage research portfolio
- Avoids funding duplicative research
- Creates transparency
- Encourages greater interaction with results of funded research
- Access to cutting-edge research encourages innovation
- Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products
- Creates new opportunities for job creation
- Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest
- Creates better educated populace
- Encourages support of scientific enterprise and engagement in citizen science
Why start with public access?
“Governments would boost innovation and get a better return on their investment in publicly funded research by making research findings more widely available… And by doing so, they would maximize social returns on public investments.” – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Widespread access to publicly funded research results is an essential, inseparable component of our nation’s investment in science.
Results of publicly funded research should be shared in cost-effective ways in order to stimulate discovery and innovation, and advance the translation of this knowledge into public benefits Enhanced access to and expanded sharing of information will lead to usage by millions of scientists, professionals, and individuals, and will deliver an accelerated return on the public’s investment in this research. More…