What is Open Access?
Let’s start with what is not Open Access:
Paying ridiculously high prices to get access to scientific work, much of which is publicly funded: traditional publishers charge thousands of Euros per year for subscriptions to individual journals.
Restricting (re-)use of research results: traditional publishers adopt authors’ copyrights and control access by licensing agreements that limit re-use and distribution of publications.
How can something as important as knowledge be trapped in a billion-dollar business?
Fortunately, times are changing. An alternative to traditional publication models that is growing in popularity is Open Access publishing: the practice of providing unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed research articles. Open Access publishing is supported – even demanded – by more and more academics. In just one year, almost 14,000 researchers have declared publicly that they will boycott any Elsevier B.V.-published journal unless the company radically changes how it operates (see: The Cost of Knowledge). In addition, several legislators worldwide have already committed to implementing an Open Access-only policy.
Why is it so important ?
By making scientific research results easily accessible to all, everyone can immediately read, use, educate or build upon existing scientific work, accelerating the spread of knowledge worldwide. Research already showed that Open Access publishing results in faster scientific communication, wider influences of scientific knowledge on the industry, government, and education, and more knowledge uptake in society.