Open Access: In a nutshell
1) What is Open Access?
Open Access (OA) is a digital-based literature that is available online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. With the accessibility of the internet and consent of the author or copyright-holder, accessing such literature is now made possible.
Scholarly journals do not pay authors, who can therefore consent to OA without losing revenue. It is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance. Journal editors and referees participate in peer review.
OA literature is not free to produce, even if it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. Business models for paying the bills depend on how OA is delivered.
2) What are the primary vehicles to deliver OA?
There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles: OA journals and OA archives or repositories.
- OA archives or repositories
– Peer review has not been performed, but simply makes their contents freely available to the world.
– Archives may belong to institutions, such as universities and laboratories, or disciplines, such as physics and economics.
- OA journals
– Peer review has been performed and the approved contents are made freely available to the world.
– Expenses spent usually are made of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space.
– OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment.
– OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees.
– There is a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal and we’re far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination.