Open Access is a publishing model that has been proposed as an alternative to the current scholarly publishing model. There are many different ways the Open Access model is carried out but for an initiative to be considered Open Access price barriers (fees to access the materials) and permission barriers (copyright and licensing restrictions) must be removed.Digital information is made freely available. Users may have a variety of permissions, including the right to copy, use, change, distribute or display the information, as long as the original author is given credit. Open Access does not change how information is created; it changes at what point information is paid for.
Open Access Journals
Open Access journals are referred to as "Gold OA" - the highest standard of Open Access content. There are many Open Access journals across all disciplines. The fields of Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) have been early adopters of Open Access however journals are published in every area. The quality of Open Access journals varies, as with journals published by the traditional publishing model.
For a list of Open Access journals see Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). For information about Open Access in specific disciplines see the section from the Open Access Information Platform website.
Open Access Repositories
Open Access repositories are referred to as "Green OA" - the second highest standard of Open Access content. Repositories consist of disciplines' or institutions' archived materials and which are made available to the public. The materials archived are not peer-reviewed by the repository and may or may not have been published. For published materials, the copy archived may be a post-print (the published version) or a pre-print version (before an author signs over copyright to a publisher, an author can legally archive that work).
Currently Mount Royal does not have an Open Access Institutional Repository. There have been discussions about instituting one; however there are many technical and policy issues that must be in place before an institutional repository can be implemented.
Open Access Monographs
Monographs (books) have not been published frequently using the Open Access publishing model. Some organizations and institutions have begun to make books freely available, including online textbooks. Other organizations, such as Project Gutenberg, have begun to host books that are no longer under copyright.
For information about Open Access monograph publishing see the section from the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS) website. For information about National Academies Press series of Open Access monographs see the National Academies Press website. For more information about Open Access textbooks see the FlatWorld Knowledge website.
Open Access Publishing Models
The goal of Open Access is to make information freely available via the Web. To achieve this goal there are 4 main publishing models: author pays, research funder subsidies, institutional membership and publishing support funds.
In the author pays model, journals charge an article-processing charge (APC) which requires the author or supporting institution to pay for an article's publication once it has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. In the research funder subsidies model, a researcher may apply to a funding agency for funds to pay the APC, thus making their research more widely available to the public. In the institutional membership model, the institution for which the researcher works can pay a membership fee to a journal, allowing a certain number of articles to be published in that journal. In the publishing support funds model, organizations and institutions reimburse authors for APC from a specific fund created for that purpose. There are many hybrids based on these 4 publishing models.
For information about publishing models see the section on the Open Access Information Platform website.
Open Access does not change author's rights. Authors' works are still protected by copyright in the same way as authors who publish their works with traditional publishing models. When authors agree to Open access they agree to right of use, allowing unrestricted reading, downloading, copying, sharing, storing and printing of the full-text work. Authors still retain the right exploit their own work. Authors may choose to license their works under open content licensing, such as Creative Commons.
Benefits and Concerns
There are a variety of benefits and challenges to the Open Access publishing model. One of the major benefits to Open Access publishing is the increased access the public has to scholarly research. And because of the increased access, authors who publish in Open Access publications enjoy increased citation rates. Disciplines also enjoy more international and cross-discipline collaboration when information is more freely available. There are other benefits due to increased ease of finding information through popular search engines, quick access to information, digital copies of documents (easy to store, transfer, etc.), amongst other advantages.
One of the concerns about Open Access publishing is that articles published in an Open Access journal will considered lower quality than those published in a traditional journal. Open Access journals may not be as well recognized as they are not as well established as some traditionally-published journals, however quality does not depend on the publishing model. There are also concerns about long-term storage of information, long-term accessibility, conflicts of interest over author pays funding models, amongst other issues.
For a list of benefits and challenges see the section on the Open Access Information Platform website.
Why Libraries Are Involved
Libraries are involved in Open Access because libraries deal with access to and storage of information. Libraries purchase journals and the increasing cost of academic journals has meant problems for libraries to continue providing access. Libraries are also often involved in the creation of institutional repositories, as storing information is part of their purview. Libraries and library associations are very interested in the Open Access movement and can be a good source of information about Open Access.
For information about Open Access from a library point of view see the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.
Intellectual property includes patents, copyright, trade-marks and industrial design. These rights protect intangible subjects that are produced as a result of human creativity. Intellectual property rights mean that other people can be stopped from using the "property" and that the rights can be transferred. These rights may include what academics produce through their research, depending on a researcher's agreement with her/his institution.
Open Access does not change intellectual property rights. Authors will have to agree to give increased access required by Open Access publications, but this does not change authors' underlying rights. (See Copyright below.)
For information about intellectual property in Canada see the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Open Access works under the current copyright system. Authors, the copyright holders, may give their copyright to the public domain - allowing the general public to freely use their work - or license their work under Creative Commons.Authors can agree to have their work publically accessed or publically accessed and modified.
To see the Canadian Copyright Act see the Department of Justice's website. To see licensing agreements see Creative Commons. To search for digital objects licensed under Creative comments, see the Creative Commons Search.
Peter Suber's introduction to Open Access
Open Access Scholarly Information Source (OASIS) - a resource that covers what Open Access is, principles, advantages, approaches and means to achieving it.
Open Access Information Platform - Information about Open Access, including information about Open Access in specific disciplines.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - DOAJ covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals, aiming to cover all subjects and languages.
Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) - The aim of ROAR is to promote the development of open access by providing timely information about the growth and status of repositories throughout the world.
SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) - SHERPA is investigating issues in the future of scholarly communication. It is developing open-access institutional repositories in universities to facilitate the rapid and efficient worldwide dissemination of research.
RoMEo (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving) - Use this site to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.
SPARC (Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition) - SPARC is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system. Developed by the Association of Research Libraries, SPARC has become a catalyst for change. Its pragmatic focus is to stimulate the emergence of new scholarly communication models that expand the dissemination of scholarly research and reduce financial pressures on libraries.
Creative Commons - Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.
Creative Commons Search - search digital objects licensed under Creative Commons