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Open Access 101: What is Open Access (OA)?

A guide for potential authors and researchers to introduce you to open access and how it may impact you.


Some useful guides to the OA terms you might encounter:

What is it?

Open Access Logo"Open Access (OA) is the free, online availability of scholarly research outputs. OA deals primarily with access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles, for which authors receive no financial compensation.

There are two primary means of achieving Open Access:

Open Access Journals offer an alternative to traditional subscription-based journals by providing free access to the peer-reviewed articles they publish.

Open Access Repositories collect, preserve, and provide free access to peer-reviewed articles and other types of research outputs. OA repositories may be discipline-based or institution-based."

[Source: CARL Open Access Flyer. (2012). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from]

Why publish OA?

OA is a publishing model that provides free and unrestricted online access to scholarly publications and research data. This makes it easier to share your publications and collaborate with others. Certain granting agencies and funding sources require that you make your research accessible either through publishing in an open access journal or self-archiving in an open access repository.

  • Content can be obtained at no cost to readers and students
  • Greater access to and dissemination of research
  • Greater impact (citation counts, visibility) for research results
  • Greater control and flexibility over your own use of your intellectual property
  • Increased transparency and accountability
  • Shifts cost of publishing to authors or institutions
  • There are different degrees of openness
  • Need to critically appraise OA journals to ensure quality and peer review