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Open Access: What is Open Access

Materials for development of Open Access Policy

Open Access Is...

“Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” –Peter Suber

*Open Access is compatible with copyright and peer-review

*Open Access removes price barriers, but there is often still a cost to producing OA literature

*The main concern within Open Access is finding a better way to pay the bills rather than by charging readers and creating access barriers

Types of Open Access

Open Access is often described by how it is delivered:

  • Gold:
    • Open access is  provided by journals
    • Authors submit articles to OA journals as they would to conventional journals
    • The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains many examples of gold OA journals
    • As of March 2013, there were 8,817 journals in the DOAJ
  • Green:
    • Open access is provided by repositories
    • Authors deposit their manuscripts in an OA repository
    • Repository examples include:
      • OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories): Lists over 2,200 repostitories and allows searching of repository contents
      • ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories): Provides information about the growth and status of repositories around the world
      • SUNY DSpace: Repository that provides access to the publication output of institutions within SUNY
    • 9,563 repositories listed in OpenDOAR, ROAR, and as of February 2013

The OA degree of openness can be described in one of these two ways:

  • Gratis:
    • OA in which only price barriers are removed
    • This means that the material is free of charge, but not free of copyright and licensing restrictions
  • Libre:
    • OA in which price barriers are removed, and at least some permission barriers are removed
    • This means that the material is free of charge and permits uses beyond fair use
    • Journals are more likely to provide libre OA than repositories