Open access (OA) is the free online distribution of digital literature. OA removes the barriers caused by subscription and licensing fees in order to promote scholarly growth. OA scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both the users and the authors. The open access movement is transforming the traditional model of scholarly publishing and challenging established norms for the access, sharing, and re-purposing of knowledge.
While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards. For more information, see Peter Suber's overview of Open Access.
Adapted from the Cornell University Library's Open Access Publishing Guide, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Check out some of the commitments to Open Access from around the world:
Institutional mandates requiring all researchers in a given institution or department to deposit preprints into a local archive are one of the fastest growing methods of promoting open access at institutions around the world.