Open Access

The Case for Open Access

Open-Access-logo

Open Access (OA) stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse. Here’s why that matters.

Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. Anyone who wants to read the articles must pay to access them. Anyone who wants to use the articles in any way must obtain permission from the publisher and is often required to pay an additional fee.

Although many researchers can access the journals they need via their institution and think that their access is free, in reality it is not. The institution has often been involved in lengthy negotiations around the price of their site license and re-use of this content is limited.

Paying for access to content makes sense in the world of print publishing, where providing content to each new reader requires the production of an additional copy, but online it makes much less sense to charge for content when it is possible to provide access to all readers anywhere in the world.

PLOS Takes a Different Approach

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. This license was developed to facilitate open access – namely, free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. Additionally, the journal platform that PLOS uses to publish research articles is Open Source.

Benefits of Open Access Research

  • Accelerated discovery. With open access, researchers can read and build on the findings of others without restriction.
  • Public enrichment. Much scientific and medical research is paid for with public funds. Open Access allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment.
  • Improved education. Open Access means that teachers and their students have access to the latest research findings throughout the world.

Additional OA Resources

There are many other organizations, such as SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Institute) and the Open Society Foundations, that work tirelessly for progress in Open Access. You can find many free resources to help you learn more or to advocate for OA journals in your institution.

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  8. […] With the advances in technology, the sharing (and archiving) of graduate student research is gradually changing.  Increasingly, graduate schools have adopted ETD processes and are exploring ways to increase interactivity, innovation and creativity. The open access movement has created multiple ways for graduate students to share their work and publish through open access journals. […]

  9. […] With the advances in technology, the sharing (and archiving) of graduate student research is gradually changing.  Increasingly, graduate schools have adopted ETD processes and are exploring ways to increase interactivity, innovation and creativity. The open access movement has created multiple ways for graduate students to share their work and publish through open access journals. […]

  10. […] related movement, “open access“, has also been evolving. It’s all about providing access to the world’s […]

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  14. […] for why Open Access is extremely important, a nice simple place to start learning about it is here and then go and read everything Michael Nielsen has written about it but start […]

  15. […] aren’t some open access publications, like PLOS,  actually concerned with free-flow of information and high-quality research? Just because there […]

  16. […] Open Access (OA) stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse. Here's why that matters. Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. Anyone who wants to read the articles must pay to access them.  […]

  17. […] journals. This is a welcome development, but this AAAS approach is at odds with that of other major open-access publishers and could impair the goals of the […]

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  20. […] (OA) “stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse”. This quote comes from PLOS a non-profit formed in 2000 with “aimed at creating a library of open access journals and […]

  21. […] without pay walls, through institutions such as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), Harvard’s DASH database and MIT’s DSpace. The PubMed database indexes more than 20 […]

  22. […] (2014). The case for Open Access. Available: http://www.plos.org/open-access/ Last Accessed 9 December […]

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  25. […] Open Access (OA) stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse. Here's why that matters. Most publishers own the rights to the articles in their journals. Anyone who wants to read the articles must pay to access them.  […]

  26. […] of Open Access Journals in Education from the Education Research Global Observatory. Open Access. The Case for Open Access Open Access (OA) stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted […]

  27. […] In my occupation, tenure and promotion are big deals. For university professors to get tenure or to be promoted, they are usually expected not only to conduct research, but also to publish that research in academic journals. And in the last decade or so, the traditional model of academic journal publishing has been disrupted by the emergence of online-only journals and by open access journals. […]

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  30. […] (OA) journals have been touted as the new alternative to conventional publishing. It stands for “unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse”. Under paid access, authors could be restricted from making copies of their own research […]

  31. […] should be a course for this! Open Access does not mean free. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) defines Open Access as “unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse.” The Open Access […]