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Open access logo, originally designed by "Public Library of Science. Whilst no official open access logo exists, organizations are free to select the logo style that best supports their visual language. Other logos are also in use.["citation needed]

Open access (OA) refers to "research outputs which are distributed online and free of cost or other barriers,[1] and possibly with relaxed "copyright restrictions.[2] Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including "peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed "academic journal articles, "conference papers, "theses,[3] book chapters,[2] and "monographs.[4] Widespread public access to the "World Wide Web in the late 1990s and early 2000s fueled the open access movement, as it provided a very-low-cost method for quickly distributing a large number of copies.

Academic articles (as historically seen in paper-based "academic journals) have been the main focus of the movement. Conventional (non-open access) journals cover publishing costs through "access tolls such as subscriptions, site licenses or "pay-per-view charges. While open access journals are freely available to the reader, there are still costs associated with the publication and production of such journals, which may be recovered in a variety of ways. Different distribution mechanisms and business models have come to be associated with certain colors used as shorthand or a classification system. These include:

The level of access can also be classified as closed (which Wikipedia indicates with the icon "closed access publication – behind paywall) ""gratis", meaning free to read ("Free to read) or ""libre" meaning free to read with relaxed copyright restrictions on re-use ("open access publication – free to read).

In 2009, there were approximately 4,800 active open access journals, publishing around 190,000 articles.[10] As of October 2015, this had increased to over 10,000 open access journals listed in the "Directory of Open Access Journals,[11] though this number has fallen to 9,500 in January 2017. A study of random journals from the "citations indexes AHSCI, SCI and SSCI in 2013 came to the result that 88% of the journals were closed access and 12% were open access.[12]

Advantages and disadvantages of open access have generated considerable discussion amongst researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial "publishers, editorial staff and "society publishers.[13] Reactions of existing publishers to open access journal publishing have ranged from moving with enthusiasm to a new open access business model, to experiments with providing as much free or open access as possible, to active lobbying against open access proposals. There are many publishers that started up as open access publishers, such as "PLOS and "BioMed Central.


Implementation practices[edit]

There are multiple ways authors can provide open access to their work, and different degrees to which copyright is waived.

Journals: gold open access[edit]

One option for authors who wish to make their work openly accessible is to publish in an open access journal ("gold open access")[14] that makes their research output immediately available from the publisher.[15] There are many business models for open access journals.[16] Open access can be provided by traditional publishers, who may publish open access as well as subscription-based journals, or dedicated open-access-only publishers such as "Public Library of Science (PLOS) and "BioMed Central.

Open access journals divide into those that charge publication fees (also known as an article processing charge) and those that do not.

Fee-based open access journals[edit]

Open access journals in which the author is responsible for the associate publication costs[17] are commonly known as gold open access journals [18][19]. The money might come from the author but more often comes from the author's "research grant or employer. In cases of economic hardship, many journals will waive all or part of the fee, including authors from "less developed economies). Journals charging publication fees normally take various steps to ensure that editors conducting peer review do not know whether authors have requested, or been granted, fee waivers, or to ensure that every paper is approved by an independent editor with no financial stake in the journal. While the payments are often incurred per article published (e.g. "BMC journals or "PLOS ONE), there are some journals that apply them per manuscript submitted (e.g. "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics until recently) or per author ("PeerJ). A 2013 study found that only 28% of journals in the "Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) required payment by the authors; however, this figure was higher in journals with a scientific or medical focus (43% and 47% respectively), and lowest in journals publishing in the arts and humanities (0% and 4% respectively).[20] Traditionally, many academic journals levied page charges, long before open access became a possibility.["citation needed]

Roughly 30%[2] of gold open access journals have author fees to cover the cost of publishing (e.g. PLoS fees vary from $1,495 to $2,900[21]) instead of reader subscription fees. Advertising revenue and/or funding from foundations and institutions are also used to provide funding.

There currently is a growing global debate[22][23][24][25][26] regarding open access's ideology and ethics and its related Article Processing Charge fees (APC) as they are being created and managed by academic journal and monograph publisher conglomerates together with some national and international academic institutions and government bodies. One controversy is "double dipping", where both authors and subscribers are charged.[27] Groups offering open access solutions["clarification needed] include the Publishers for Development and Research4Life projects and activities.

No-fee open access journals[edit]

No-fee open access journals, also known as "platinum" or "diamond"[18][19] have no fees for readers and no article processing charges or publication fees for authors.[28] They use a variety of "business models. As summarized by Peter Suber:[29] "Some no-fee OA journals have direct or indirect subsidies from institutions like universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, hospitals, museums, "learned societies, foundations, or government agencies. Some have revenue from a separate line of non-OA publications. Some have revenue from advertising, auxiliary services, membership dues, endowments, reprints, or a print or premium edition. Some rely, more than other journals, on volunteerism. Some undoubtedly use a combination of these means".

Hybrid and delayed access[edit]

A "hybrid open access journal[30] has a business model at least partially based on subscriptions, and only provide gold open access for those individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay a specific fee for publication, often referred to as an "article processing charge (APC).[9] With a "delayed open access journal, the content is made open access after a delay (typically 12 or 24 months).

Self-archiving: green open access[edit]

Self-archiving, also known as green open access, refers to the practice of depositing articles in an "open access repository, where it can be accessed for free.[31] [32][33] such as their "institutional repository,[34][35] This can be an "institutional, a "disciplinary repository such as "arXiv, or a central repository such as "PubMed Central.

Green open access journal publishers[36] endorse immediate open access self-archiving by their authors. Open access self-archiving was first formally proposed in 1994[37][38] by "Stevan Harnad in his ""Subversive Proposal". However, self-archiving was already being done by computer scientists in their local "FTP archives in the 1980s,[39] later harvested into "CiteSeer. What is deposited can be either a "preprint, or the peer-reviewed "postprint – either the author's refereed, revised final draft or the publisher's version of record.

ome publishers require delays, or an "embargo, on when a research output in a repository may be made open access.[40] To find out if a publisher or journal has given a green light to author self-archiving, the author can check the Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving list[41] on the "SHERPA/RoMEO web site. The EPrints site also provides a "FAQ[42] on self-archiving. Extensive details and links can also be found in the Open Access Archivangelism blog[43] and the Eprints Open Access site.[44]

Manner of distribution[edit]

Like the self-archived green open access articles, most gold open access journal articles are distributed via the "World Wide Web,[2] due to low distribution costs, increasing reach, speed, and increasing importance for scholarly communication. "Open source software is sometimes used for "open access repositories,[45] "open access journal websites,[46] and other aspects of open access provision and open access publishing.

Access to online content requires Internet access, and this distributional consideration presents physical and sometimes financial barriers to access. Proponents of open access argue that Internet access barriers are relatively low in many circumstances, that efforts should be made to subsidize universal Internet access, whereas pay-for-access presents a relatively high additional barrier over and above Internet access itself.["citation needed]

The "Directory of Open Access Journals lists a number of "peer-reviewed open access journals for browsing and searching. Open access articles can also often be found with a "web search, using any general "search engine or those specialized for the scholarly and scientific literature, such as "OAIster and "Google Scholar.

In 1998, several universities founded the "Public Knowledge Project to foster open access, and developed the open-source journal publishing system "Open Journal Systems, among other scholarly software projects. As of 2010, it was being used by approximately 5,000 journals worldwide.[47]

Policies and mandates[edit]

Many universities, research institutions and research funders have adopted mandates requiring their researchers to provide open access to their "peer-reviewed research articles by "self-archiving them in an open access repository.[48] Research Councils UK spent nearly £60m on supporting their open access mandate between 2013 and 2016.[49] Some publishers and publisher associations have lobbied against introducing mandates.[50][51][52]

The idea of mandating self-archiving was mooted at least as early as 1998.[53] Since 2003[54] efforts have been focused on open access mandating by the funders of research: governments,[55] research funding agencies,[56] and universities.[48]

The "Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) is a searchable international database charting the growth of "open access mandates. As of December 2017, mandates have been registered by over 600 universities (including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, University College London, and University of Edinburgh) and over 100 research funders worldwide.[34]

Funding issues[edit]

The ""article processing charges" which are often used for open access journals shift the burden of payment from readers to authors (or their funders), which creates a new set of concerns.[17] One concern is that if a publisher makes a profit from accepting papers, it has an incentive to accept anything submitted, rather than selecting and rejecting articles based on quality. This could be remedied, however, by charging for the peer-review rather than acceptance.[57] Another concern is that institutional budgets may need to be adjusted in order to provide funding for the article processing charges required to publish in many open access journals (e.g. those published by "BioMed Central[58]). It has been argued that this may reduce the ability to publish research results due to lack of sufficient funds, leading to some research not becoming a part of the public record.[59]

Unless discounts are available to authors from countries with low incomes or external funding is provided to cover the cost, article processing charges could exclude authors from developing countries or less well-funded research fields from publishing in open access journals. However, under the traditional model, the prohibitive costs of some non-open access journal subscriptions already place a heavy burden on the research community; and if green open access "self-archiving eventually makes subscriptions unsustainable, the cancelled subscription savings can pay the "gold open access publishing costs without the need to divert extra money from research.[60] Moreover, many open access publishers offer discounts or publishing fee waivers to authors from developing countries or those suffering financial hardship. Self-archiving of non-open access publications provides a low cost alternative model.[61]

Another concern is the redirection of money by major funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the "Wellcome Trust from the direct support of research to the support of open access publication. Robert Terry, Senior Policy Advisor at the Wellcome Trust, has said that he feels that 1–2% of their research budget will change from the creation of knowledge to the dissemination of knowledge.[62]

Research institutions could cover the cost of open access by converting to an open access journal cost-recovery model, with the institutions' annual tool access subscription savings being available to cover annual open access publication costs.[63] A 2017 study by the "Max Planck Society the annual turnovers of academic publishers amount to approximately EUR 7.6 billion. It is argued that this money comes predominantly from publicly funded scientific libraries as they purchase subscriptions or licenses in order to provide access to scientific journals for their members. The study was presented by the Max Planck Digital Library and found that subscription budgets would be sufficient to fund the open access publication charges.[64]

Motivations for open access publishing[edit]

Open access itself (mostly green and gratis) began to be sought and provided worldwide by researchers when the possibility itself was opened by the advent of "Internet and the "World Wide Web. The momentum was further increased by a growing movement for academic journal publishing reform, and with it gold and libre OA. Electronic publishing created new benefits as compared to paper publishing but beyond that, it contributed to causing problems in traditional publishing models.

The premises behind open access publishing are that there are viable funding models to maintain traditional "peer review standards of quality while also making the following changes:

An obvious advantage of open access journals is the free access to scientific papers regardless of affiliation with a subscribing library and improved access for the general public; this is especially true in developing countries. Lower costs for research in academia and industry has been claimed in the "Budapest Open Access Initiative,[66] although others have argued that OA may rise the "total cost of publication.[67] The open access movement is motivated by the problems of social inequality caused by restricting access to academic research, which favor large and wealthy institutions with the financial means to purchase access to many journals, as well as the economic challenges and perceived unsustainability of academic publishing.[65][68]

Stakeholders and concerned communities[edit]

The intended audience of research articles is usually other researchers. Open access helps researchers as readers by opening up access to articles that their libraries do not subscribe to. One of the great beneficiaries of open access may be users in "developing countries, where currently some "universities find it difficult to pay for subscriptions required to access the most recent journals.[69] Some schemes exist for providing subscription scientific publications to those affiliated to institutions in developing countries at little or no cost.[70] All researchers benefit from open access as no library can afford to subscribe to every "scientific journal and most can only afford a small fraction of them – this is known as the ""serials crisis".[71]

Open access extends the reach of research beyond its immediate academic circle. An open access article can be read by anyone – a "professional in the field, a "researcher in another field, a "journalist, a "politician or "civil servant, or an interested "layperson. Indeed, a 2008 study revealed that "mental health professionals are roughly twice as likely to read a relevant article if it is freely available.[72]

Author citation advantage[edit]

Authors may use form language like this to request an open access license when submitting their work to a publisher
An interview on "paywalls and open access with "NIH Director "Francis Collins and inventor "Jack Andraka

The main reason authors make their articles openly accessible is to maximize their "research impact.[73] There have been claims of higher citation rates for open access authors.[74] The overall citation rates for a time period of 2 years (2010–2011) were 30% higher for subscription journals, but, after controlling for discipline, journal age and publisher location, the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories, except for those launched prior to 1996.[75] A study in 2001 first reported an open access "citation impact advantage,[76]

Two major studies dispute the claim that open access articles lead to more citations.[77][78] A randomized controlled trial of open access publishing involving 36 participating journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities found that open access articles (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 years.[77]

Many other studies, both major and minor and with varying degrees of methodological rigor, find that an open access article is more likely to be used and cited than one behind subscription barriers.[79]

For example, a 2006 study in "PLoS Biology found that articles published as immediate open access in "PNAS were three times more likely to be cited than non-open access papers, and were also cited more than PNAS articles that were only self-archived.[80] This result has been challenged as an artifact of authors self-selectively paying to publish their higher quality articles in hybrid open access journals,[81] whereas a 2010 study found that the open access citation advantage was equally big whether self-archiving was self-selected or mandated.[82]

A 2010 study of 27,197 articles in 1,984 journals used institutionally mandated open access instead of randomized open access to control for bias on the part of authors toward self-selectively making their better (hence more citeable) articles open access. The result was a replication of the repeatedly reported open access citation advantage, with the advantage being equal in size and significance whether the open access was self-selected or mandated.[82]

A 2016 study reported that the odds of an open access journal being referenced on the English Wikipedia are 47% higher than for paywalled journals, and suggested that this constitutes a significant "amplifier" effect for science published on such platforms.[83]

Scholars are paid by research funders and/or their universities to do research; the published article is the report of the work they have done, rather than an item for commercial gain. The more the article is used, cited, applied and built upon, the better for research as well as for the researcher's career.[84][85] Open access can reduce publication delays, an obstacle which led some research fields such as high-energy physics to adopt widespread preprint access.[86]

Some professional organizations have encouraged use of open access: in 2001, the "International Mathematical Union communicated to its members that "Open access to the mathematical literature is an important goal" and encouraged them to "[make] available electronically as much of our own work as feasible" to "[enlarge] the reservoir of freely available primary mathematical material, particularly helping scientists working without adequate library access."[87]

Research funders and universities[edit]

"Research funding agencies and universities want to ensure that the research they fund and support in various ways has the greatest possible research impact.[88] As a means of achieving this, research funders are beginning to expect open access to the research they support. Many of them (including all seven UK Research Councils) have already adopted green open access "self-archiving mandates, and others are on the way to do so (see "ROARMAP).

In 2008, the "NIH Public Access Policy, an open access mandate was put into law, and required that research papers describing research funded by the National Institutes of Health must be available to the public free through PubMed Central within 12 months of publication.


A growing number of universities are providing institutional repositories in which their researchers can deposit their published articles. Some open access advocates believe that institutional repositories will play a very important role in responding to open access mandates from funders.[89] EnablingOpenScholarship (EPS) provides universities with OA policy-building.[90]

In May 2005, 16 major "Dutch universities cooperatively launched "DAREnet, the Digital Academic Repositories, making over 47,000 research papers available to anyone with internet access.[91] From 1 January 2007, at the completion of the DARE programme, KNAW Research Information has taken over responsibility for the DAREnet portal. On 2 June 2008, DAREnet has been incorporated into the scholarly portal NARCIS.[92] At the end of 2009, NARCIS provided access to 185,000 open access publications from all Dutch universities, KNAW, NWO and a number of scientific institutes.

In 2011, a group of universities in North America formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI).[93] Starting with 21 institutions where the faculty had either established an open access policy or were in the process of implementing one, COAPI now has nearly 50 members. These institutions' administrators, faculty and librarians, and staff support the international work of the Coalition's awareness-raising and advocacy for open access. Members agree to the following COAPI Principles:

  1. The immediate and barrier-free online dissemination of scholarly research resulting in faster growth of new knowledge, increased impact of research, and improved return on public research investments
  2. Developing and implementing institutional open access policies
  3. Sharing experiences and best practices in the development and implementation of Open Access Policies with individuals at institutions interested in cultivating cultures of open access
  4. Fostering a more open scholarly communication system through cultural and legislative change at the local, national, and international levels[94]

In 2012, the Harvard Open Access Project released its guide to good practices for university open-access policies,[95] focusing on rights-retention policies that allow universities to distribute faculty research without seeking permission from publishers.

In 2013 a group of nine Australian universities formed the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness, and lead and build capacity in the open access space in Australia.[96] In 2015, the group expanded to include all eight New Zealand universities and was renamed the Australasian Open Access Support Group.[97] It was then renamed the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, highlighting its emphasis on strategy. The awareness raising activities of the AOASG include presentations, workshops, blogs, and a webinar series on open access issues.[98]

Libraries and librarians[edit]

As information professionals, "librarians are vocal and active advocates of open access. These librarians believe that open access promises to remove both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine library efforts to provide access to the scholarly record,[99] as well as helping to address the "serials crisis. Many library associations have either signed major open access declarations, or created their own. For example, the "Canadian Library Association endorsed a Resolution on Open Access in June 2005.[100]

Librarians also lead education and outreach initiatives to faculty, administrators, and others about the benefits of open access. For example, the "Association of College and Research Libraries of the "American Library Association has developed a Scholarly Communications Toolkit.[101] The "Association of Research Libraries has documented the need for increased access to scholarly information, and was a leading founder of the "Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).[102][103]

At most universities, the library manages the institutional repository, which provides free access to scholarly work by the university's faculty. The "Canadian Association of Research Libraries has a program[104] to develop institutional repositories at all Canadian university libraries.

An increasing number of libraries provide hosting services for open access journals. A 2008 survey by the Association of Research Libraries[105] found that 65% of surveyed libraries either are "involved in journal publishing, or are planning to become involved in the very near future.[106]

In 2013, open access activist "Aaron Swartz was posthumously awarded the American Library Association's "James Madison Award for being an "outspoken advocate for public participation in government and unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles".[107][108] In March 2013, the entire editorial board and the editor-in-chief of the "Journal of Library Administration resigned en masse, citing a dispute with the journal's publisher.[109] One board member wrote of a "crisis of conscience about publishing in a journal that was not open access" after the death of Aaron Swartz.[110][111]

The pioneer of the open access movement in France and one of the first librarians to advocate the "self-archiving approach to open access worldwide is Hélène Bosc.[112] Her work is described in her "15-year retrospective".[113]


Open access to scholarly research is argued to be important to the public for a number of reasons. One of the arguments for public access to the scholarly literature is that most of the research is paid for by taxpayers through "government grants, who therefore have a right to access the results of what they have funded. This is one of the primary reasons for the creation of advocacy groups such as The Alliance for Taxpayer Access in the US.[114] Examples of people who might wish to read scholarly literature include individuals with medical conditions (or family members of such individuals) and serious hobbyists or 'amateur' scholars who may be interested in specialized scientific literature (e.g. "amateur astronomers). Additionally, professionals in many fields may be interested in continuing education in the research literature of their field, and many businesses and academic institutions cannot afford to purchase articles from or subscriptions to much of the research literature that is published under a toll access model.

Even those who do not read scholarly articles benefit indirectly from open access.[115] For example, patients benefit when their doctor and other "health care professionals have access to the latest research. As argued by open access advocates, open access speeds research progress, productivity, and knowledge translation.[116] Every researcher in the world can read an article, not just those whose library can afford to subscribe to the particular journal in which it appears. Faster discoveries benefit everyone. High school and "junior college students can gain the information literacy skills critical for the knowledge age. Critics of the various open access initiatives claim that there is little evidence that a significant amount of scientific literature is currently unavailable to those who would benefit from it.[117] While no library has subscriptions to every journal that might be of benefit, virtually all published research can be acquired via "interlibrary loan.[118] Note that interlibrary loan may take a day or weeks depending on the loaning library and whether they will scan and email, or mail the article. Open access online, by contrast is faster, often immediate, making it more suitable than interlibrary loan for fast-paced research.

Low-income countries[edit]

In developing nations, open access archiving and publishing acquires a unique importance. Scientists, health care professionals, and institutions in developing nations often do not have the capital necessary to access scholarly literature, although schemes exist to give them access for little or no cost. Among the most important is "HINARI,[119] the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative, sponsored by the "World Health Organization. HINARI, however, also has restrictions. For example, individual researchers may not register as users unless their institution has access,[120] and several countries that one might expect to have access do not have access at all (not even "low-cost" access) (e.g. South Africa).[120]

Many open access projects involve international collaboration. For example, the "SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online),[121] is a comprehensive approach to full open access journal publishing, involving a number of "Latin American countries. "Bioline International, a "non-profit organization dedicated to helping publishers in developing countries is a collaboration of people in the UK, Canada, and Brazil; the Bioline International Software is used around the world. "Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), is a collaborative effort of over 100 volunteers in 45 countries. The "Public Knowledge Project in "Canada developed the "open source publishing software "Open Journal Systems (OJS), which is now in use around the world, for example by the "African Journals Online group, and one of the most active development groups is Portuguese. This international perspective has resulted in advocacy for the development of "open-source appropriate technology and the necessary open access to relevant information for "sustainable development.[122][123]


The main argument against open access, author's paid fee based journals, is the possible damage to the "peer review system, diminishing the overall quality of scientific journal publishing. For example, in 2009, a hoax paper generated by a computer program was accepted for publication by a major publisher under the "author-pays-for-publication model.[124] In a similar "incident, a staff writer for Science magazine and popular science publications targeted the open access system in 2013 by submitting to some such journals a deeply flawed paper on the purported effect of a lichen constituent. About 60% of those journals, including journals published by the major academic publishers "Sage Publications and "Elsevier the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, accepted the faked medical paper, although journals published by notable open access publishers "PLOS, "BioMed Central, and "Hindawi Publishing Corporation rejected the fake article. This study did not also submit the fake article journals published under a subscription model.[125] As a result, this experiment was criticised for being not peer-reviewed itself and for having a flawed methodology and lack of a control group.[126][127] Many newer open access journals also lack the reputation of their subscription counterparts, which have been in business for decades. This effect has been diminishing though since 2001, reflecting the emergence of high quality professional open access publishers such as "PLOS and "BioMed Central.[128]

Opponents of the open access model continue to assert that the pay-for-access model is necessary to ensure that the publishers are adequately compensated for their work. Scholarly journal publishers that support pay-for-access claim that the "gatekeeper" role they play, maintaining a scholarly reputation, arranging for peer review, and editing and indexing articles, require economic resources that are not supplied under an open access model. Opponents claim that open access is not necessary to ensure fair access for developing nations; differential pricing or financial aid from developed countries or institutions can make access to proprietary journals affordable. Some critics also point out the lack of funding for author fees.[129]

Lack of diversity[edit]

Open access does not mean there is access is equal to all. Some people have difficulties accessing the internet and, thus, the articles, but there is also inequality in terms of what is published and by whom.[130] The lack of diversity in academia and research, in reviewers and publishers, and in librarians (those who help others find sources) leads to many people's voices being unheard.[131]


On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the "Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2012, "Peter Suber is interviewed about his views on past, present and future developments in open access to scholarly publications

The idea and practise of providing free online access to journal articles began at least a decade before the term "open access" was formally coined. Computer scientists had been "self-archiving in "anonymous ftp archives since the 1970s and physicists had been self-archiving in "arxiv since the 1990s. The "Subversive Proposal to generalize the practice was posted in 1994.[132]

The term "open access" itself was first formulated in three public statements in the 2000s: the "Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002, the "Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing in June 2003, and the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in October 2003,[133] and the initial concept of open access refers to an unrestricted online access to scholarly research primarily intended for scholarly journal articles.

Efforts before Internet[edit]

Many journals have been subsidized ever since the beginnings of "scientific journals.["citation needed] It is common for those countries with developing higher educational and research facilities to subsidize the publication of the nation's scientific and academic researchers, and even to provide for others to publish in such journals, to build up the prestige of these journals and their visibility.["citation needed] Such subsidies have sometimes been partial, to reduce the subscription price, or total, for those readers in the respective countries, but are now often universal.["citation needed]

One early proponent of the publisher-pays model was the physicist "Leó Szilárd. To help stem the flood of low-quality publications, he jokingly suggested in the 1940s that at the beginning of his career each "scientist should be issued with 100 vouchers to pay for his papers. Closer to the present, but still ahead of its time, was "Common Knowledge. This was an attempt to share information for the good of all, the brainchild of Brower Murphy, formerly of The Library Corporation. Both Brower and Common Knowledge are recognised in the Library Microcomputer Hall of Fame.[134] One of "Mahatma Gandhi's earliest publications, Hind Swaraj published in Gujarati in 1909 is recognised as the intellectual blueprint of India's freedom movement. The book was translated into English the next year, with a copyright legend that read "No Rights Reserved".[135]

The modern open access movement (as a "social movement) traces its history at least back to the 1950s, with the "Letterist International (LI) placing anything in their journal Potlatch in the public domain. As the LI merged to form the "Situationist International, "Guy Debord wrote to Patrick Straram "All the material published by the Situationist International is, in principle, usable by everyone, even without acknowledgement, without the preoccupations of literary property." This was to facilitate "détournement.[136] It became much more prominent in the 1990s with the advent of the "Digital Age. With the spread of the "Internet and the ability to copy and distribute electronic data at no cost, the arguments for open access gained new importance. The fixed cost of producing the article is separable from the minimal marginal cost of the online distribution.

Early years of online open access[edit]

An explosion of interest and activity in open access journals has occurred since the 1990s, largely due to the widespread availability of "Internet access. It is now possible to publish a scholarly article and also make it instantly accessible anywhere in the world where there are computers and Internet connections. The fixed cost of producing the article is separable from the minimal marginal cost of the online distribution.

These new possibilities emerged at a time when the traditional, print-based scholarly journals system was in a crisis. The number of journals and articles produced had been increasing at a steady rate; however the average cost per journal had been rising at a rate far above "inflation for decades, and budgets at academic libraries have remained fairly static.["citation needed] The result was decreased access – ironically, just when technology has made almost unlimited access a very real possibility, for the first time. Libraries and librarians have played an important part in the open access movement, initially by alerting faculty and administrators to the serials crisis. The Association of Research Libraries developed the "Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), in 1997, an alliance of academic and research libraries and other organizations, to address the crisis and develop and promote alternatives, such as open access.

The first online-only, free-access journals (eventually to be called "open access journals") began appearing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These journals typically used pre-existing infrastructure (such as e-mail or "newsgroups) and volunteer labor and were developed without any intent to generate profit. Examples include "Bryn Mawr Classical Review, "Postmodern Culture, "Psycoloquy, and "The Public-Access Computer Systems Review.[137]

Probably the earliest book publisher to provide open access was the "National Academies Press, publisher for the "National Academy of Sciences, "Institute of Medicine, and other arms of the "National Academies. They have provided free online full-text editions of their books alongside priced, printed editions since 1994, and assert that the online editions promote sales of the print editions. As of June 2006 they had more than 3,600 books up online for browsing, searching, and reading.

While Editor-in-Chief of the "Journal of Clinical Investigation, "Ajit Varki made it the first major biomedical journal to be freely available on the web in 1996.[138] Varki wrote, "The vexing issue of the day is how to appropriately charge users for this electronic access. The nonprofit nature of the JCI allows consideration of a truly novel solution — not to charge anyone at all!"[139] Other pioneers in open access publishing in the biomedical domain included "BMJ, "Journal of Medical Internet Research, and "Medscape, who were created or made their content freely accessible in the late 90s.[140]

The first free scientific online archive was "arXiv.org, started in 1991, initially a preprint service for physicists, initiated by "Paul Ginsparg. Self-archiving has become the norm in physics, with some sub-areas of physics, such as high-energy physics, having a 100% self-archiving rate. The prior existence of a "preprint culture" in high-energy physics is one major reason why arXiv has been successful.[141] arXiv now includes papers from related disciplines including computer science, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, and statistics. However, computer scientists mostly self-archive on their own websites and have been doing so for even longer than physicists. arXiv now includes postprints as well as preprints.[142] The two major physics publishers, "American Physical Society and "Institute of Physics Publishing, have reported that arXiv has had no effect on journal subscriptions in physics; even though the articles are freely available, usually before publication, physicists value their journals and continue to support them.[143]

Computer scientists had been self-archiving on their own "FTP sites and then their websites since even earlier than the physicists, as was revealed when "Citeseer began harvesting their papers in the late 1990s. Citeseer is a computer science archive that harvests, "Google-style, from distributed computer science websites and "institutional repositories, and contains almost twice as many papers as arXiv. The 1994 ""Subversive Proposal"[144] was to extend "self-archiving to all other disciplines; from it arose "CogPrints (1997) and eventually the "OAI-compliant generic "GNU "Eprints.org software in 2000.[145]

One of the very first[146] online journals, GeoLogic, Terra NOVA,[147] was published by Paul Browning and started in 1989. It was not a discrete journal but an electronic section of TerraNova. The journal ceased to be open access in 1997 due to a change in the policy of the editors (EUG) and publishing house (Blackwell).["citation needed]

In 1997, the U.S. "National Library of Medicine (NLM) made "Medline, the most comprehensive index to medical literature on the planet, freely available in the form of "PubMed. Usage of this database increased a tenfold when it became free, strongly suggesting that prior limits on usage were impacted by lack of access. While indexes are not the main focus of the open access movement, Medline is important in that it opened up a whole new form of use of "scientific literature – by the public, not just professionals.[148] The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR),[149]["not in citation given] one of the first open access journals in medicine, was created in 1998, publishing its first issue in 1999.

In 1998, the "American Scientist Open Access Forum[150] was launched (and first called the "September98 Forum"). One of the more unusual models is utilized by the Journal of Surgical Radiology, which uses the net profits from external revenue to provide compensation to the editors for their continuing efforts.[151]

In the biological and geological sciences, paleontology came into the forefront in 1998 with Palaeontologia electronica,[152] Their first issue received 100,000 hits from an estimated 3,000 readers, comparable to the subscription numbers of their peer print journals.[153] One challenge to digital-only biological journals was the lack of protection afforded by the "International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to scientific names published in formats other than paper, but this was overcome by revisions to the Code in 1999 (effective January 1, 2000).["citation needed]

One of the first humanities journals published in open access is CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture[154] founded at the University of Alberta in 1998 with its first issue published in March 1999 and since 2000 published by "Purdue University Press.

In 1999, "Harold Varmus of the "NIH proposed a journal called E-biomed, intended as an open access electronic publishing platform combining a "preprint server with peer-reviewed articles.[155] E-biomed later saw light in a revised form[156] as "PubMed Central, a "postprint archive.

It was also in 1999 that the "Open Archives Initiative and its "OAI-PMH protocol for metadata harvesting was launched in order to make online archives interoperable.


The number of open access journals increased by an estimated 500% during the "2000-2009 decade. Also, the average number of articles that were published per open access journal per year increased from approximately 20 to 40 during the same period, resulting in that the number of open access articles increased by 900% during that decade.[10]

In 2000, "BioMed Central, a for-profit open access publisher with now dozens of open access journals, was launched by what was then the Current Science Group (the founder of the Current Opinion series, and now known as the Science Navigation Group).[157][158] In some ways, BioMed Central resembles "Harold Varmus' original E-biomed proposal more closely than does "PubMed Central.[159] As of October 2013 BioMed Central publishes over 250 journals.[160]

In 2001, 34,000[161] scholars around the world signed "An Open Letter to Scientific Publishers", calling for "the establishment of an online public library that would provide the full contents of the published record of research and scholarly discourse in medicine and the life sciences in a freely accessible, fully searchable, interlinked form".[162] Scientists signing the letter also pledged not to publish in or peer-review for non-open access journals. This led to the establishment of the "Public Library of Science, an advocacy organization. However, most scientists continued to publish and review for non-open access journals. PLoS decided to become an open access publisher aiming to compete at the high quality end of the scientific spectrum with commercial publishers and other open access journals, which were beginning to flourish.[163] Critics have argued that, equipped with a $10 million grant, PLoS competes with smaller open access journals for the best submissions and risks destroying what it originally wanted to foster.[164] PLOS launched its first open access journal, "PLOS Biology in 2003, with "PLOS Medicine following in 2004, and "PLOS One in 2006.[158]

The first major international statement on open access was the "Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002, launched by the "Open Society Institute.[45] This provided the first definition of open access, and has a growing list of signatories.[165] Two further statements followed: the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing[166] in June 2003 and the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in October 2003. Also in 2003, the "World Summit on the Information Society included open access in its Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.[167]

In 2006, a "Federal Research Public Access Act was introduced in US Congress by senators "John Cornyn and "Joe Lieberman.[168][169] The act continues to be brought up every year since then, but has never made it past committee.[170]

The year 2007 recorded some backlash from non-OA publishers.[171]

In 2008, "Ajit Varki worked with "David Lipman to create the first viable model for a major "Open Access textbook hosted at NCBI, the 2nd. Edition of the Essentials of Glycobiology.[172]

Perhaps the first dedicated publisher of "open access monographs in the humanities was "re.press who published their first title in that 2006. Two years later in 2008 "Open Humanities Press, another publisher of humanities monographs, was launched. Most recently, the "Open Library of Humanities launched in September 2015.

In 2008, "USENIX, the advanced computing systems association, implemented an open access policy for their conference proceedings. In 2011 they added audio and video recordings of paper presentations to the material to which they provide open access.[173]


In 2013, "John Holdren, "Barack Obama's director of the "Office of Science and Technology Policy, issued a memorandum directing United States' Federal Agencies with more than $100 million in annual R&D expenditures to develop plans within six months to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication.[174][175] As of March 2015, two agencies had made their plans public: the "Department of Energy[176] and the "National Science Foundation.[177]

In 2013, the UK "Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) proposed adopting a mandate that in order to be eligible for submission to the UK "Research Excellence Framework (REF) all peer-reviewed journal articles submitted after 2014 must be deposited in the author's "institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, regardless of whether the article is published in a "subscription journal or in an open access journal. HEFCE expresses no journal preference, places no restriction on authors' choice and requires the deposit itself to be immediate, irrespective of whether the publisher imposes an embargo (for an allowable embargo period that remains to be decided) on the date at which access to the deposit can be made open.[178][179] The HEFCE/REF mandate proposal complements the recent "Research Councils UK (RCUK) mandate that requires all articles resulting from RCUK funding to be made open access by 6 months after publication at the latest (12 months for arts and humanities articles).[180]

HEFCE also provided grants to universities in England[181] wishing to participate in the Pilot Collection of "Knowledge Unlatched, a not-for-profit organisation enabling humanities and social sciences "monographs to become open access. The Pilot Collection ran from October 2013 to February 2014 and 297 libraries and institutions worldwide participated in 'unlatching' the collection of 28 titles. 61 of these participating institutions were university libraries in England eligible for the HEFCE grant of 50% towards the $1195 participation fee.[182]

The "Indian Council of Agricultural Research had adopted an Open Access policy[183] for its publications on 13 September 2013[184] and announced that each ICAR institute would set-up an open access institutional repository. One such repository is eprints@cmfri, an open access institutional repository of the "Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute which was set-up on 25 February 2010 well before the policy was adopted.[185] However, since March 2010, the ICAR is making available its two flagship journals under Open Access[186] on its website and later through an online platform called Indian Agricultural Research Journals using "Open Journal Systems.

In 2014, the "Department of Biotechnology and "Department of Science and Technology, under "Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India jointly announced their open access policy.[187]

In May 2016 the "European Union announced that "all scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020"[188] and that the Commission will "develop and encourage measures for optimal compliance with the provisions for open access to scientific publications under "Horizon 2020".[189] Some ask such measures to include the usage of "free and open-source software.[190]

By March 2018, a search of MEDLINE indicated that ~21% of all human/animal articles indexed are available freely through PubMed Central, or directly from the journal. Within veterinary medicine specifically, research indicates the number is higher, at ~27%.[191]


Open access by discipline 2009

A study published in 2010 showed that roughly 20% of the total number of peer-reviewed articles published in 2008 could be found openly accessible.[192] Another study found that by 2010, 7.9% of all academic journals with "impact factors were gold open access journals and showed a broad distribution of Gold Open Access journals throughout academic disciplines.[193] 8.5% of the journal literature could be found free at the publishers’ sites (gold open access), of which 62% in full open access journals, 14% in "delayed-access subscription journals, and 24% as individually open articles in otherwise subscription journals. For an additional 11.9% of the articles, open access full text copies were available via green open access in either subject-based repositories (43%), institutional repositories (24%) or on the home pages of the authors or their departments (33%). These copies were further classified into exact copies of the published article (38%), manuscripts as accepted for publishing (46%) or manuscripts as submitted (15%).[192]

In the 2010 study, of all scientific fields chemistry had the lowest overall share of open access (13%), while Earth Sciences had the highest (33%). In medicine, biochemistry and chemistry gold publishing in open access journals was more common than author self-archiving. In all other fields self-archiving was more common.

In August 2013, a study done for the "European Commission reported that 50% of a random sample of all articles published in 2011 as indexed by "Scopus were freely accessible online by the end of 2012.[194][195][196] A 2017 study by the "Max Planck Society put the share of gold access articles in pure open access journals at around 13 percent of total research papers.[64]

Development of open access


A study on the development of publishing of open access journals from 1993 to 2009 [197] published in 2011 suggests that, measured both by the number of journals as well as by the increases in total article output, direct gold open access journal publishing has seen rapid growth particularly between the years 2000 and 2009. It was estimated that there were around 19,500 articles published open access in 2000, while the number has grown to 191,850 articles in 2009. The journal count for the year 2000 is estimated to have been 740, and 4769 for 2009; numbers which show considerable growth, albeit at a more moderate pace than the article-level growth. These findings support the notion that open access journals have increased both in numbers and in average annual output over time.

The development of the number of active open access journals and the number of research articles published in them during the period 1993–2009 is shown in the figure above. If these gold open access growth curves are extrapolated to the next two decades, the Laakso et al. (Björk) curve would reach 60% in 2022, and the Springer curve would reach 50% in 2029 as shown in the figure below (the reference provides a more optimistic interpretation which does not match with the values shown in the figure).[198]


ROAR Growth map of repositories and contents, 1 August 2011

The "Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) indexes the creation, location and growth of open access "open access repositories and their contents.[34] As of December 2017, over 4,500 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered in ROAR.[199]

Finding open access research online[edit]

There are various open access aggregators that index open access journals or articles. ROAD synthesizes information about open access journals and is a subset of the ISSN registry. The OALibrary provides open and free access to a large database of scientific research papers, covering all topics[200]. Users may browse to find open access journals by country or by subject. "SHERPA/RoMEO lists international publishers that allow the published version of articles to be deposited in "institutional repositories. The "Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains over 8,000 open access journals of varying open access policies that scholars can search and browse.[201] The "Open Archives Initiative (OAI) lists 2937 conforming "repositories. Searching each open access repository individually is impractical. The resources in these repositories can be harvested, using the "OAI Protocol and aggregated into online systems which in-turn provide access to millions of resources from a single online location.[202]

Several initiatives provide an alternative to the American and English language dominance of existing publication indexing systems, including "Index Copernicus (Polish), "SciELO (Portuguese, Spanish) and "Redalyc (Spanish).

See also[edit]

Related to journals[edit]


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