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Open Access: About OA

Who Benefits from Open Access?

Many individuals and groups benefits from Open Access (SPARC) to include:  

  • Clinicians around the world have access to the latest peer-reviewed evidence to treat patients and improve treatment outcomes.
  • Researchers have access to the latest papers to inform their own work. 
  • Patient Care and Public Health both benefit when practitioners and the public have access to high-quality information about disease prevention and treatment options.
  • The Scientific Community at large by making available previous discoveries, techniques and technologies. The pace of science and research accelerates when researchers have access to more published peer-reviewed scientific and technical articles.

What is Open Access?

Open Access publications provide immediate (where applicable), unrestricted, online access to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Under the OA model authors are free of most copyright restrictions and may freely reuse and disseminate their work.

There are two approaches to making research Open Access:

  • Gold OA
    • The final publisher version is open access via the journal website without any embargo period
    • The publication has a license intended to maximize reuse, such as CC-BY
    • The author(s) may be subject to paid an additional article processing charge (APC) by the publisher
  • Green OA 
    • Authors can archive their paper in an full-text journal or subject repository or in their institutional repository.
    • The version archived is usually the final author version as accepted for publication
    • There are no additional charges to paid
    • Publisher embargo period may apply (usually 12 months)

There are three formal definitions of OA: Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin. Together they form the BBB.

Delayed Open Access is an embargo period that occurs when a subscription-based journal imposes an access fee for a defined period of time.

What is the Impact of Open Access?

"Open access makes knowledge accessible and reusable, accelerates the pace of discovery and discussion, maximizes the return of investment in research, and speeds the development of all the benefits that depend on research, from new medicines and useful technologies to informed decisions, solved problems, and improved public policies." Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)

In developing countries lacking funds for information resources, Open Access provides an unprecedented opportunity for access to the latest scientific and medical information.

OA frees authors of copyright and licensing restrictions, so they may freely share, reuse and disseminate scholarly work.

Selected Articles: Impact of Open Access

Tennant JP, Waldner F, Jacques DC, Masuzzo P, Collister LB, Hartgerink CH.
The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review
Version 3. F1000Res 2016 Apr 11 [revised 2016 Sep 21];5:632. eCollection 2016.
"Open Access remains only one of the multiple challenges that the scholarly publishing system is currently facing. Yet, it provides one foundation for increasing engagement with researchers regarding ethical standards of publishing and the broader implications of 'Open Research'."

Björk BC, Solomon D.
Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact
BMC Medicine 2012, 10:73 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-73.
"Our results indicate that OA journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as subscription journals, particularly in biomedicine and for journals funded by article processing charges."

Gargouri Y, Hajjem C, Larivière V, Gingras Y, Carr L, et al.
Self-selected or mandated, Open access increases citation impact for higher quality research
PLoS ONE 2010; 5(10): e13636. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013636
"The OA advantage is greater for the more citable articles, not because of a quality bias from authors self-selecting what to make OA, but because of a quality advantage, from users self-selecting what to use and cite, freed by OA from the constraints of selective accessibility to subscribers only. It is hoped that these findings will help motivate the adoption of OA self-archiving mandates by universities, research institutions and research funders."

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