Open access (OA) is the free availability of scholarly journal publications over the Internet. OA has the following characteristics:
- It applies to royalty-free literature, for which authors receive no direct financial compensation.
- It is free of price barriers, such as subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees.
- It is generally considered to also be free of permission barriers, such as most copyright and licensing restrictions (although OA does require that proper attribution of works be given to authors).
It is an emerging model of scholarly communication that promises to greatly improve the accessibility of results of research. Open access will create the conditions for the ‘effective global information system’, called for by Dr Arthur Carty, the former National Science Adviser for Canada’s Prime Minister in a University Affairs article. Dr. Carty described this system as consisting of both infrastructure and “perhaps more importantly a culture of open access and sharing”.