Open Access

The Open Access (OA) movement is about barrier free, online access to scholarly literature for readers. Rather than locking away scholarship and providing access only to paying institutions, it’s about free access to research for everyone.

Two major mechanisms for making research open access are OA repositories and journals. OA repositories can include, for example, pre-prints, post-prints, journal articles, theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, technical reports, and working paper series. Most OA repositories are OAI-compliant and indexed by commercial search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. Some institutions, including Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, have implemented school or campus-wide open access policies requiring deposit of scholarly articles in an OA repository. OA journals are scholarly and peer-reviewed and most allow authors to retain copyright. The number of OA repositories and journals is on the rise.

Public Access

Public Access to research is also gaining momentum. While the OA movement is about access to scholarly literature in the broadest sense, public access is specifically about access to the product of publicly funded research. Funding agencies are increasingly requiring public access to research, as demonstrated by the NIH Public Access Policy, the NSF Data Management Requirements, and the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) bill currently before the House of Representatives and the Senate. The rules of the game are changing and tax payers, authors, funding agencies, libraries, and publishers are feeling the impact.


To learn more about open access:
Peter Suber. “Open Access Overview”, SPARC Open Access Newsletter.

To learn more about how to increase access to your research:
“OPEN DOORS AND OPEN MINDS: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution - A SPARC / SCIENCE COMMONS WHITE PAPER”,

To learn more about open access and journal prestige and quality:
Peter Suber. “Thinking about prestige, quality, and open access”, SPARC Open Access Newsletter.

Directory of Open Access Repositories:

Directory of Open Access Journals:

ROARMAP OA Policy Signup (list of funder, institutional, departmental, and theses OA mandates):

NIH Public Access Policy:

NSF Data Management Plan Requirements:

Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA):