Open Access is unrestricted access to journal content. Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. Access to the content of some journals is restricted by publishers who charge high prices to buy the article and by publishers requiring faculty to gain permission to distribute journal content to students.
The Internet has made access to authoritative content immediately available at no charge. Researchers all over the world have access to unrestricted content. Researchers benefit from increased study of their findings and students benefit from learning the additional information their teachers can provide.
In 2003, The IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) issued a “Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation” in 2003. The statement expresses support for open access. In the statement, “IFLA affirms that comprehensive Open Access to scholarly literature and research documentation is vital to the understanding of our world and to the identification of solutions to global challenges and particularly the reduction of information inequality. Open Access guarantees the integrity of the system of scholarly communication by ensuring that all research and scholarship will be available in perpetuity for unrestricted examination and, where relevant, elaboration or refutation.”
Some Open Access Resources:
BioMed Central: Contains over 190 journals covering medicine and biology.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): contains authoritative scholarly and scientific journals.
Public Library of Science: Open access journals provided by physicians and scientists.
PubMed Central: a free digital archive of journals containing articles pertaining to the life sciences.
OAIster: A searchable database of digital repositories.
Other Articles of Interest:
Peter Suber, Open access, markets, and missions, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, March 2, 2010
Steve Kolowich, Encouraging Open Access, Inside Higher Ed, March 2, 2010
Peter Schmidt, New Journals, Free Online, Let Scholars Speak Out, The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 14, 2010
Barbara Fister, Barbara Fister thinks back on a year of hashtag-worthy highlights, Library Journal, January 8, 2010