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Open Access

Find out what "Open Access" is, why it's important, and where you can find open access journals, books and resources.



Open Access logo

"Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."  (Peter Suber)

In addition to scholarly publications, the Open Access Movement also includes Open Science, Open Data, and Open Education - freeing the research process for even quicker dissemination of knowledge and more rapid discovery.

Why is OPEN ACCESS Important?

We engage and 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. Communication of the results of research is an essential component to the research process; research can only advance by sharing the results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results.

Yet, too often, because of cost barriers or use restrictions (paywalls), research results are not available to the full community of potential users (see the documentary Paywall: The Business of Scholarship on the Resources page). The Internet gives us the opportunity to bring this crucial information to a worldwide audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allows us to use it in new, innovative ways. This has resulted in a call for a new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used — the call for Open Access. (from SPARC: Open Access Fact Sheet) (PDF – Links to an external source and may not be accessible)


Open Access comes in many colors:

Green OA - 

This method allows the author to place a version of the published research in various platforms, including disciplinary repositories (e.g. ArXiv or PubMed Central), institutional repositories (e.g. ODU Digital Commons), or personal webpages.

Some publishers allow their final version (usually a pdf) to be self-archived, while others only allow the author’s pre-print or post-print (final version after peer-review) to be self-archived either immediately or after an embargo period. Publisher policies on self-archiving and versions are available in either the SHERPA/RoMEO database or on the publisher or journal website (usually more up to date than SHERPA). 

Gold OA -

The Gold OA method makes published works available immediately on publication. Many publishers require the author to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for immediate open access. Public Library of Science (PLoS) and BioMed Central are examples of Gold OA publishers.

With Hybrid OA, publishers of subscription-based journals offer an OA option to authors (with an APC, sometimes up to $5,000). With this option, an individual article is openly available immediately, while the other articles are still available only through subscription.

Platinum or Diamond OA -

A true Open Access journal: there is no cost to the author or reader, because these journals are often sponsored by universities, government information centers, or even groups of researchers.

Bronze OA -

Publishers can choose to make an article freely available to read (with no APC), but they can also end the free availability at any time.


Self-publishing of books has become a viable option for some scholars interested in taking a more independent approach to distributing their works in an open access framework. Publishers and university publishers are also developing open access book programs and open textbook programs. The Directory of Open Access Books indexes academic, peer reviewed, open access books that are made publicly available under various types of licenses. The license terms associated with each book display as a link.

Open Access Myths

For the past couple decades, many myths have circulated about open access. Luckily, numerous authorities have debunked those myths. The two links below provide fact-based responses. 

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