*What does the term Open Access mean?

  • "Open Access" is a term commonly used for a movement that promotes free availability and unrestricted use of research and scholarship.
  • Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge to the reader, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, so there are no price barriers and no permission barriers.

The definition of the concept emerged from three conferences:

Also see: An Overview of Open Access

Why do researchers support open access?

  • Many OA advocates support this unrestricted access because they believe the results of tax-payer funded research should be shared; since citizens have paid for this research, they should be able to access it at no additional charge.
  • Many OA advocates also support unrestricted access because knowledge itself, or information, is a public good. A public good is something beneficial to everyone who seeks it, without added use diminishing its value.Common examples of public goods include: law enforcement, lighthouses, clean air and other environmental goods, and information goods, such as software development, authorship, and invent.
  • Most academic authors are interested in creating as wide a readership as possible; open access extends readership.
  • Most academic authors are interested in their research having as big an impact as possible; open access improves citation rates.

How do the economics of open access work?

  • Open access to research and scholarship is not free - there are costs involved in making research available. The economic models to support unrestricted access to research are still being developed; the common thread among the models is that open access research is available at no charge to all readers.

One model that exists is for there to be a payment when the author submits an article. Usually this charge to publish an open access article is covered by research grant funds. In 2004, one study by Elsevier found that this "author side" payment model encompassed just 17% of open access journals. In an updated study in 2007, Bill Hooker did a survey of all known open access journals and found that only 18% charged fees. The open access publisher BioMed Central offers a table comparing such author side payments.

Other economic models are also being experimented with. For example, some new open access publishers, such as the the not-for-profit PLoS (Public Library of Science) or the for-profit BioMed Central, require author payments, but these can be waived for by institutions who´ve purchased a membership.

Other titles are subsidized, often by scholarly societies, institutions, or foundations. The 2004 Elsevier study found that government or university subsidies accounted for 55% of the total open access titles, the largest portion. The remaining open access titles (28%) that were not supported by "author side" payments, or by government or universities, were found to be subsidized by paid subscriptions to their print equivalents.

  • Some journals are entirely open access; every article is available without restriction. Other journals are "hybrid" in that they are traditional subscription-based journals, but offer authors the choice to pay a fee to make their individual article freely accessible to anyone worldwide. The other articles in the journal remain accessible only through subscription.
  • Some publishers offer all their titles under one kind of open access policy, and others have different policies for different titles.

Some research on Economic implications on a big scale:

Houghton, J.W., Rasmussen, B., Sheehan, P.J., Oppenheim, C., Morris, A., Creaser, C., Greenwood, H., Summers, M. and Gourlay, A. (2009) Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits, Report to The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) by Victoria University & Loughborough


The two roads to open access:

1. Open-Access Journals: Journals will not charge subscriptions or fees for online access. Instead, they should look to other sources to fund peer-review and publication (e.g.,publication charges)

2. Self-Archiving: Scholars should be able to deposit their refereed journal articles in open electronic archives which conform to Open Archives Initiative standards


What is the BTH Open Access Policy?

June 11th 2007

The Vice-Chancellor have decided that every scientific article (journal-, conference- or other peer-reviewed documents) published by staff employed at Blekinge Institute of Technology must be submitted as an electronic copy with bibliographic data, to the institutional repository of BTH when copyright rules or confidentiality provisions makes that possible.  Researchers at Blekinge Institute of Technology should aim to publish research articles in Open Access Journals when appropiate titles are available. When this option is unavailable publishers that do allow self archiving of post-prints documents should be chosen.


Research Funders and Open Access Policy?

Several  research funding organizations also have open access policies. To review these policies, see:



OASIS - Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook

OAIster is a union catalog of digital resources that provide access to digital resources by "harvesting" their descriptive metadata. OAIster is harvesting about 800 archives around the world.

The Access Principle by John Willinsky, provides in-depth analysis of its history, purpose, vales, methods, and impact.

What are common myths about open access? -  Dispelling Myths about Open Access

DOAJ - A register of Open Access Journals

DRIVER - Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research

OpenDOAR The Directory of Open Access Respositories.

SHERPA Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving.

SPARC Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

Authors addendum - is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles

Six things that researchers need to know about open access

Peter Subers Overview of Open Access.

Timeline of the Open Access Movement

The Royal Library department for national coordination on Open Access efforts OpenAccess.se

*Part of this text is taken from the MIT FAQ about OA - http://info-libraries.mit.edu/scholarly/open-access-initiatives/faq/

Peter Linde 110307