So, you’ve heard about Open Access Journals, but not quite sure what that means? No problem, we’ll dive right into the basics.
What is an Open Access Journal?
Open access (OA) journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader “without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.”
In simple words, to quote Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, “Open Access literature is digital, online, free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions”
Why Open Access?
As you may be aware, most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. What this means is that if anyone wants to use the articles in anyway, he or she must obtain permission from the publishers and is often required to pay an additional fee.
Looking at this fee, many researchers may think that they are better off accessing the journal through their institution, as it’s any ways free, right? Infact that’s not the case in reality. Most institutions would have paid a price for the access. By this we mean that institutions would have negotiated the price of their site license, and reuse of this content is limited.
If we were to consider the print publishing world, paying journals for an access to the articles would make more sense, as here, the publisher in order to provide articles to each reader, requires the production of physical copies of the articles. In an online world however, the distribution of the articles is as wide as the internet’s reach, and might not make sense. That’s when Open Access starts playing an important role for Journals.
Let’s have a deeper look at how Peter Suber describes Open Access and why it makes sense.