What is open access?1
Open access (OA) literature includes all scholarly outputs that are digital, online, free of charge, accessible without registration or other access barriers and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Open access is entirely compatible with peer review and all the major open access initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance, see also.
There are typically two forms of open access. Open access definitions suffer from a lack of standardisation within the community, but these types are generally understood to be:
- Gratis open access: the practice of making a work available online free of charge.
- Libre open access: the practice of making a work available online free of charge and with some additional reuse rights, typically granted through a Creative Commons (CC) licence.
Gratis open access removes price barriers, whereas libre open access additionally removes at least some permission barriers, allowing users to copy, redistribute and/or adapt a work. Open access contrasts with more traditional models of restricted access publishing in which copies of works are made available direct only to paying customers. Read more
Exact definitions of open access are the subject of debate. It is important to note that many open access proponents and some research funders do not consider a work truly openly accessible if it only meets gratis open access requirements. Indeed, only libre open access is compliant with most major international statements that define open access.