Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. - Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
Researchers engage and invest in research in order to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and stimulate the economy – to improve the public good. Communication of the results of research is an essential component of the research process; research can only advance by sharing the results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results.
Yet, too often, because of cost barriers or use restrictions, research results are not available to the full community of potential users. The Internet gives us the opportunity to bring this crucial information to a worldwide audience at virtually no marginal cost, and allows us to use it in new, innovative ways. This has resulted in a call for new framework to allow research results to be more easily accessed and used— the call for Open Access.
Open Access takes many forms. Here are some of the ways researchers interact with Open Access journal articles:
Remember: Sham journals, predatory publishers, non-peer reviewed, and journals with little impact exist in both the Closed Access arena and the Open Access arena. Before publishing in any journal, researches should take time to investigate both the journal and the editorial board.