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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Open Access

"Research wants to be free"

What is Open Access?

Open Access or OA is a digital publishing model in which a work is made freely available to the end user. The author of the work retains their copyright and right of attribution, but makes it freely available for download, copy and distribution. Authors may also elect to allow users of their work to modify the work or use it as the basis for a new work.

In the academic world, open access means free access to research results and research data, as well as use and adaptation of open educational resources or OERs. Open access benefits students by reducing the cost of course materials. Benefits to the research community include breaking down socio-economic barriers to access, wider distribution of research, and increased recognition for researchers.

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Creative Commons License
Open Access Explained! is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license.

The Importance of Open Access: COVID-19

There are few better examples that demonstrate the power of and necessity for open access than the recent pandemic. Early in 2020 subscription-based publishers followed the model of open access publications and made their COVID-19 related research open upon publication. As a result global medical and research communities had immediate access to research and data that is frequently held behind paywalls. This collaboration between researchers and publishers has brought open access into discussion as an effective publishing model when time is a critical factor in access to research and data.