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Revision as of 12:41, 27 October 2013

Oad2.jpeg This list is part of the Open Access Directory.

  • This list is still under development. Every part of it may change before the official launch, including its title, URL, and method of organization.
  • If you are new to open access, welcome. We at the Open Access Directory (OAD) have gathered together a select group of resources to help the newcomer become familiar with open access. Unlike the other OAD lists, this one is curated and not intended to be exhaustive.


Defining open access

Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free or charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. The OA movement focuses on OA to scholarly literature, although in principle any kind of content could be OA.

Why open access?

Open-access literature allows research to be shared online without price and permission barriers that would limit access and use. The open access movement hopes to decrease the economic and legal barriers between scholarly research and those who want to learn from it and potentially expand upon it.

Delivering open access

OA can be delivered in many ways, for example, through databases, ebooks, wikis, blogs, discussion forums, and P2P networks. But the two primary vehicles are journals and repositories.

  • Gold OA is delivered by OA journals. These journals provide their peer-reviewed articles online at no cost from the moment of publication.
  • Green OA is delivered by OA repositories. Repositories don't perform their own peer review, but can host and distribute works peer-reviewed elsewhere. Disciplinary repositories provide OA to research in a given field or on a given topic, while institutional repositories provide OA to research from a given institution. Works in repositories can be unpublished and unrefereed (such as drafts and preprints), published and unrefereed (such as popular articles or editorials), or both published and refereed (such as articles published in peer-reviewed journals). Access to works in repositories can be immediate or delayed, and can be gratis or libre (more below).

Use and reuse

Copyright and licensing agreements can severely restrict what can be done with scholarly literature. Even when literature can be read at no cost to users, legal limitations on reproduction and distribution can also create barriers to access. The digital environment has provided new opportunities for the dissemination of research, such as crawling articles for online indexing and encoding content as data for use by software. However, publishers often place legal restrictions on users’ ability to reformat, repurpose, and redistribute content.

  • Gratis access is free of charge. But gratis works may stand under copyright and licensing restrictions. They may even stand under all-rights-reserved copyrights.
  • Libre access is free of charge and free for some or all kinds of reuse. The best way to make a work libre OA is to use an open license, for example, one of the Creative Commons licenses, and the best way to refer to a particular stripe or flavor of libre OA is to refer to the license under which it stands. Some people use the term "libre" to refer to whole spectrum of freedoms for use and reuse beyond gratis, and some use it to refer only the most-free end of that spectrum, for example, as represented by the CC-BY license or CC0 assignment.

Declarations defining open access

The following statements serve as the foundation of the international OA movement:

Further reading

Peter Suber, How to make your own work open access. An online handout, periodically updated.

Peter Suber, Open Access Overview. An online handout, periodically updated.

Peter Suber, Open Access (MIT Press, 2012). Available in paperback and several OA editions. The book home page includes updates and supplements.

Open Access definition by the The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Open Access definition by the Public Library of Science (PLoS)