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Open Access: What is Open Access

In This Guide

The purpose of this library guide is to help the Izmir Instiute ofTechnology community to explore and understand new models of scholarly publishing. The guide provides information on the benefits of open access, how to locate open access resources, and the ways IYTE participates in the open access initiative. For information on copyright and other scholarly communication resources, please consult the resources linked in the box below.  If you have specific questions about open access, please contact Gültekin GÜRDAL


Related Library Guides

  • Copyright on Campus
    For more information on copyright, author's rights, and fair use, please visit the Copyright on Campus library guide.
  • Scholarly Communications Working Group
    Resources for persons working in Smathers Libraries who advocate for open access and other scholarly communications issues.


Peter Suber (scholar, researcher, professor, and author) is the unofficial leader of the open access initiative. In his open access primer, he defines open access as: scholarly literature that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions."  This means that the material is available without a subscription charge for anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, print, display and modify. A goal of open access is anyone with access to the Internet can find and use, to the fullest capacity, any open access publication.

Why provide Open Access?

Benefits of OA include:

  • increased visibility, usage and impact for research
  • provision of equality of access to research, particularly for those in developing countries
  • publicly funded research is made available to the public

For more information see The Open Access Scholarly Sourcebook by Alma Swan & Leslie Chan.

This short video from BioMed Central also highlights the importance of OA publishing.

Selected Open Access Directories

OAD : Open Access  Directory

OASIS :Open Access  Scholarly Information Sourcebook

OpenDOAR : Directory of Open Access  Repositories 


Coalition of Open Access policy Institutions:COAPI

OAD : Open Access Directory

The Open access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD makes it easier for everyone to discover them and use them for reference. The easier they are to maintain and discover, the more effectively they can spread useful, accurate information about OA. To see what we have, browse the table of contents below, browse the table of categories, or use the search box in the left sidebar. To help the cause, just registerand start editing. If you have any questions, see our help section or drop us a line.

OAD is a wiki and we count on our users to keep these lists accurate, comprehensive, and up to date. Our goal is for the OA community itself to maintain the lists with little intervention from the editors oreditorial board. We welcome your contributions to the lists, ideas for new lists, and comments to help us improve OAD. Please contact us or use the discussion tabs on individual pages. OAD is hosted by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College and supervised by an independent editorial board.

The OAD is a proud co-organizer of open access week. If your college or university is not on-board you still have time to organize an event and we have the tools to help you

OASIS : Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook

Open Access Scholoarly Information Sourcebook : Practical Steps for Implementing Open Access

OASIS aims to provide an authoritative ‘sourcebook’ on Open Access, covering the concept, principles, advantages, approaches and means to achieving it. The site highlights developments and initiatives from around the world, with links to diverse additional resources and case studies. As such, it is a community-building as much as a resource-building exercise. Users are encouraged to share and download the resources provided, and to modify and customize them for local use. Open Access is evolving, and we invite the growing world-wide community to take part in this exciting global movement.

OpenDOAR : Directory of Open Access Repositories

The openDOAR service provides a quality-assured listing of open access repositories around the world. openDOAR staff harvest and assign metadata to allow categorisation and analysis to assist the wider use and exploitation of repositories. Each of the repositories has been visited by openDOAR staff to ensure a high degree of quality and consistency in the information provided: openDOAR is maintained by SHERPA.

Introduction to the project

A multiplicity of open access research archives have grown up around the world, mushrooming in recent years in response to calls by scholars, researchers and open access advocates to provide open access to research information. There are a number of different lists of repositories and open access archives, but at present there no single comprehensive or authoritative list exists which records academic open access repositories.

Beyond these basic listings there is a need to move from cumulative lists to a more structured information service, cataloguing and describing repositories. Users need to know the scope and comprehensiveness of the information they find and be given features which facilitate the use of that information. For example, features to search, filter, analyse and query the descriptions of each repository.

Repositories need to be categorised with clear information on their policies regarding tagging peer-reviewed/non-peer-reviewed material, their subject coverage, the constituency they draw on for content, their collection and preservation policies, etc. Where this information does not exist, repositories should be encouraged to provide it as a means to further improve their visibility and the use of the content that they hold.

Therefore there is a need for a dependable listing of the academic e-print research repositories that are available world-wide, to underpin the outreach of the open access movement. openDOAR has been set up to provide this service.


This service is maintained by SHERPA, with support from JISC and the Wellcome Trust. It is a development of the original journal publishers' listings produced by the RoMEO Project. Journal information is kindly provided by the British Library's Zetoc service hosted by MIMAS, the Directory of open access Journals (DOAJ) hosted by Lund University Libraries, and the Entrez journal list hosted by the NCBI. Publisher information is updated by our collaborative colleagues (e.g. SHERPA PartnersDINI, and Nereus) and through community contributions - please submit any updates for a publisher using the link provided on their individual entry. If a publisher is not listed here you may wish to recommend that we include it. Please note that these listings refer to journal publications and not to book publications. Consult the publishing contract, or contact publishers directly for their self-archiving policies for book chapters.

SHERPA: Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and ACCESS

Open Access Myths and Truths

MYTH:  Open Access means giving up all my copyrights in my work.

TRUTH: Open Access works within the current U.S. copyright system. When publishing with traditional scholarly journals, authors typically sign an agreement that transfers all their copyrights to the publisher, retaining no rights for themselves to re-use or distribute their own work. However, with open access journals authors retain their rights to re-use their work in teaching and further scholarship. 

Learn More: SPARC Author's Rights brochureGo Open Access video

MYTH: Open Access journals are of low quality, are not peer reviewed and are the equivalent of self-publishing and thus will be looked down upon by my colleagues and peers.

TRUTH: Most open access journals are peer reviewed with the same or higher standards as traditional scholarly journals.  There have been studies showing an increase in impact by publishing in open access journals because of larger disseminiation and increased accessibility.

Learn More: Bibliography of articles/studies showing citation advantage through open access.

MYTH: Open Access is not a sustainable economic or business model of scholarly publishing.

TRUTH: Open Access publishers do not all operate using the same business model. There are several examples of open access journals operating successfully (e.g. PLoS, BioMed Central) and profitably without charging exorbitant subscription fees. Further, as a result of the success of these alternative business models, traditionally published journals are making changes to their structure by offering open access as an option and by shortening embargo periods. It is inevitable that all publishers will need to adjust existing economic models to one that is more in line with the principles of open access and the realities of internet access. All members of the scholarly community – authors, readers, publishers, librarians, and academic administrators – will need to collaborate to build the best models for scholarly publishing and access in the digital age.

Learn More: See John Willinsky's The Access Principle, Chapter 5 "Economics" - available for free download from MIT Press.

MYTH: Open Access and Public Access are the same thing.

TRUTH: Public Access, such as that required by the National Institutes of Health, only requires access to research after an embargo period. Open Access, on the other hand, allows for immediate access to research. 

Learn More: Visit the web site of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access to Research.

MYTH:  Only libraries benefit from Open Access because they are shifting the cost of subscriptions to the authors and funding bodies.

TRUTH: Library budgets are stressed, but librarians do not promote Open Access as a solution to a budget crisis. They promote Open Access as a new publication model that fosters increased access to research information and promotes new scholarship and discovery.Further, this increased access to information not only benefits persons in the United States but also persons in developing countries.

Learn More: See this briefing paper from the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook for a discussion of how researchers, academic institutions, students, scholars, citizens AND libraries benefit from open access.

Compiled from: BioMed CentralBoston College LibrariesMIT Libraries, and UNC Health Sciences Libraries

Policies and Tools for Ensuring Access to Scholarship by Michael Carroll


Open Access Directory

Oad2.jpeg This list is part of the Open Access Directory.

  • This is a list of numbers measuring the status or growth of open access.
  • The format is: Number. Date [last verified or updated]. Annotation. Please use links whenever possible so that users can verify and update the numbers.
  • Peter Suber started this list on Wikipedia in early 2005. Wikipedians deleted it twice and then chopped it into pieces. We restored it here on OAD, and have been expanding and updating it since 2008.
  • If these numbers don't tell the whole story, it's better to add new numbers to tell the rest of the story than to delete numbers already here.