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Open Access: OA

This guide celebrates Open Access, Open Science and Open Data, and Open Education.

What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access (OA) information is freely available and free to use. 

In practice and in the context of academe, OA embodies a set of principles and practices that support open sharing, equitable and free access to research, and generous use rights related to research, data, scholarship, and teaching and learning materials. By removing technical, legal, and financial barriers to these scholarly outputs (many of which are publicly funded), OA helps advance knowledge sharing and knowledge production.

Have you lost access to your favorite journals after graduation or in between jobs? Have you lost access to journals due to library budget cuts? OA is important for many reasons.

Why OA Matters

OA is important because it helps make scholarly content freely available to everyone. It brings this content out from behind copyright barriers and publisher paywalls. It supports the basic goals of the research and teaching enterprise: sharing, creating, and advancing knowledge.

OA leads to increased visibility of your work, increased citation rates, the potential to drive innovation and global impact, improved public access, and compliance with many funder mandates.

OA also helps fix what many describe as a "broken" system of scholarly communication, where:

  • Authors sign away copyright to publishers and often need to obtain permission to use their own work in the future;
  • The public pays twice for research (once to fund it and again to access the results); and
  • Libraries have to "buy back" the research and scholarship that researchers, including those at their own institutions, produced and evaluated.

OA Benefits Infographics

OA Benefits Infographic


OA Benefits Infographic

Video: What is Open Access

"What is Open Access" by SHB Online is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Steps You Can Take