Open-access (OA) literature is:
- Free to access (including for those who do not have personal or institutional subscriptions to journals)
- Free of most copyright and licensing restrictions
What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.
For a simple disambiguation of terms and ideas used within open access please see our glossary of terms
A brief history
Openness and open access were occurring ‘unofficially’ throughout the late 1980s and 1990s – for example Physicists publishing pre-Prints in Arxiv from 1991.
The term ‘open access’ was first coined in the 2000s within three documents:
- Budapest open access initiative [February 2002]
- Bethesda statement on open access publishing [June 2003]
- Berlin declaration on open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities [October 2003]
Benefits of open access
In addition to institutional and funder mandates, making your research open access has many wider benefits:
- Your work is easier to preserve and distribute for future researchers
- More exposure for your work
- Your research can influence policy
- Researchers in developing countries can see your work
- The public can access your findings
- Practitioners can apply your findings without barriers
- Taxpayers get value for money
- Compliant with grant rules
For a more in-depth overview of the benefits please see Jisc’s Quick guide
- For a simple disambiguation of terms and ideas used within open access please see our glossary of terms
- Peter Suber’s Open Access Overview
- Open Access Chronology blog post
- Introduction to Open Access by Jisc.
- Open Access timeline/chronology by Marie Lebert.
- Monitoring the transition to open access: December 2017 by the Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group.
- Global Open Access Portal (UNESCO) – OA implementation and policies in 158 countries.