Open Access Overview

What is Open Access? 

By Open Access, we mean the free, immediate, availability on the public Internet of those works which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment – permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software or use them for any other lawful purpose.

Why Open Access? 
Funders invest in research in order to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and stimulate the economy – to improve the public good. They recognize that broad access to the results of research is an essential component of the research process itself. Research advances only through sharing of results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results. Yet, too often, research results are not available to the broadest community of potential users. The Internet provides a new opportunity to bring information to a wider audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allow them to use it in new, innovative ways. This has resulted in a call for new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used—a call for Open Access.

Who Benefits from Open Access?

  1. Researchers:
    • Increases readers’ ability to find use relevant literature
    • Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works
    • Creates new avenues for discovery in digital environment
    • Enhances interdisciplinary research
    • Accelerates the pace of research, discovery and innovation
  2. Educational Institutions:
    • Contributes to core mission of advancing knowledge
    • Democratizes access across all institutions – regardless of size or budget
    • Provides previously unattainable access to community colleges, two-year colleges, K-12 and other schools
    • Provides access to crucial STEM materials
    • Increases competitiveness of academic institutions
    • Students
    • Enriches the quality of their education
    • Ensures access to all that students need to know, rather what they (or their school) can afford
    • Contributes to a better-educated workforce
  3. Research Funders:
    • Leverages return on research investment
    • Creates tool to manage research portfolio
    • Avoids funding duplicative research
    • Creates transparency
    • Encourages greater interaction with results of funded research
  4. Businesses
    • Access to cutting-edge research encourages innovation
    • Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products
    • Creates new opportunities for job creation
  5. Public:
    • Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest
    • Creates better educated populace
    • Encourages support of scientific enterprise and engagement in citizen science

Why start with public access?
“Governments would boost innovation and get a better return on their investment in publicly funded research by making research findings more widely available… And by doing so, they would maximize social returns on public investments.” –Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Widespread access to publicly funded research results is an essential, inseparable component of our nation’s investment in science.

Results of publicly funded research should be shared in cost-effective ways in order to stimulate discovery and innovation, and advance the translation of this knowledge into public benefits Enhanced access to and expanded sharing of information will lead to usage by millions of scientists, professionals, and individuals, and will deliver an accelerated return on the public’s investment in this research.