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Open Access: About

Open Access Initiative

The Open Access (OA) initiative seeks to ensure that research outputs are accessible to all interested individuals. The focus is on world-wide, barrier-free, open access to research papers and creative literature, using a funding or economic paradigm that differs from current journal publishing models. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has written a very good overview of why OA matters and how it works. This initiative extends to textbooks and research data sets.
Richard Poynder published (December 2020) an eBook entitled "Open access: “Information wants to be free”?, which was written as a result of an interview and reflects the author's twenty years of reporting on the OA movement. This eBook includes factual data, as well as links and footnotes. The main focus in on science publishing and provides an excellent overview of the OA initiative.
The MSK Library is committed to the principles of open access to scientific literature as a means to accelerate scientific discovery and improve patient care. This Open Access Library Guide contains selected information resources to raise awareness of open access publishing options and offers guidance to authors of scholarly works who wish to disseminate their research without restrictions of the commercial/fee-based publishing model. This Library Guide is not intended as legal advice. The content found in each of the tabs above provides starting points for those interested in learning more about this movement.
Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin are three open access declarations collectively known as the BBB which have shaped and formed the foundation of the OA publishing environment. 

What are the Different Types of Open Access?

Open Access Australasia provides readers with the different colors of open access and recommends using description language when discussing the various types of journals.

If authors have signed a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA), publisher's policy will determine which version of an article can be archived in a  repository. Authors can check their CTA for this information or the publisher’s website. SHERPA/RoMEO is another resource that provides publisher copyright policies and self-archiving information.

  • 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.
    • Preprints fall under Green OA.
    • There are no additional charges to paid.
    • Publisher embargo period may apply (usually 12 months).
  • 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.
  • Bronze OA
    • Journal free to read online but doesn't have a license.
    • Not generally sharable or reusable.
  • Diamond/Platinum OA
    • Journals that publish OA but do not charge the authors APCs.
    • Usually funded by institutions, advertising, philanthropy, etc. 
  • Hybrid OA
    • Publishers offer a combination of subscription-based and open access.
    • Authors may pay a fee to ensure their paper is open and can be access immediately.
  • Black OA
    • Illegal open access.
    • Pirated versions of articles.

Who Benefits from Open Access?

Many individuals and groups benefits from Open Access to include:  

  • Clinicians/Physicians around the world have access to the latest peer-reviewed evidence to treat patients and improve treatment outcomes.
  • Nurses can advance evidence-based practice, stay updated in their field and offer better patient care.
  • 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.

Guide for Evaluating the Openness of Journals

The “HowOpenIsIt?®”  was created by SPARC in conjunction with PLOS, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) as a guide that standardizes Open Access terminology in an easily understandable, comprehensive resource.

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