Open Access Spectrum (OAS)

HOII CoverIn 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) articulated the basic tenets of Open Access (OA) for the first time. Since then, thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the OA core components related to: readership; reuse; copyright; posting; and machine readability. It’s time to move the conversation beyond the deceptively simple question of, “Is It Open Access?” toward a more productive evaluation of “HowOpenIsIt?”.

PLOS, SPARC and OASPA have collaborated to create a guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”. The guide provides an easily understandable, comprehensive, and quantifiable resource to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on publisher policies. In addition, funders and other organizations will have a resource that indicates criteria for what level of OA is required for their policies and mandates.


This OA guide is aimed toward a wide audience of researchers, authors, and policy-makers. The goals of the guide are to:

  • Move the conversation from “Is It Open Access?” to “HowOpenIsIt?”
  • Clarify the definition of OA
  • Standardize terminology
  • Illustrate a continuum of “more open” versus “less open”
  • Enable people to compare and contrast publications and policies
  • Broaden the understanding of OA to a wider audience
  • Determine how open a publisher and/or publication is by using the grid
OAS in English Download PDF
OAS in Chinese Download PDF
OAS in Spanish Download PDF
OAS in Italian Download PDF
OAS Frequently Asked Questions in English Download PDF
OAS Frequently Asked Questions in Italian Download PDF
OAS Slideshow View Slideshow
Assess Where You Are On the OAS Grid Download PDF
Folding Instructions for the OAS Download PDF


PLOS Journals Using OAS Grid

PLOS Standing HOII

See  OAS Frequently Asked Questions


Assess a Publication or Publisher with the OAS Grid