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Open Access: About Open Access

A guide for researchers and authors who want to read or publish in open-access publications

Learn About OA

What Is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is the free, online availability of scholarly research outputs. OA deals primarily with access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles, for which authors receive no financial compensation.

There are two primary means of achieving Open Access:

  • Open Access Journals offer an alternative to traditional subscription-based journals by providing free access to the peer-reviewed articles they publish.
  • Open Access Repositories collect, preserve, and provide free access to peer-reviewed articles and other types of research outputs. OA repositories may be discipline-based or institution-based.

For more information, see the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) or contact your Subject Librarian.

by PhDComics

Why Open Access?

Scholars build on the research of others when they undertake new research. Research knowledge is a public good that enables these scholars to gain information, insights and ideas that can lead to new research breakthroughs.

The Internet provides a platform for sharing research results quickly and broadly. The high price of many scholarly journals, however, inhibits the wide distribution of research results, impeding opportunities for further research.

At Mount Allison, one subscription to a database carrying peer-reviewed scientific journals can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year. Journal prices rise each year, while library budgets shrink. Open Access publishing provides an alternative.

How Authors Benefit from Open Access

Advantages for authors include:

  • Greater citation and exposure of authors' work
  • Discovery and use of research beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries leading to interdisciplinary convergencies
  • More potential for collaborations at various levels (local, regional, national and international)
  • Greater author control over intellectual property through negotiating balanced copyright agreements with publishers
  • Greater flexibility over how authors can use the products of their research
  • The ability for authors to track their research record through open-access repositories

(Source: CARL)