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Iowa State University


Open Access: Home

This guide offers an overview of open access publishing. Audience: Faculty, grad students, & librarians.


What is Open Access?

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.- Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project

More on Open Access

These links offer more in-depth information about Open Access.


If you have questions about Open Access please contact one ofour Scholarly Communications Librarians:
Megan O'Donnell orEmma Molls

License & Acknowledgments

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Feel free to reuse, remix, or republish but please credit the authors for their work.

Created by: Megan N. O'Donnell and Emma Molls for Iowa State University Library. Internal reuse does not require attribution.



Advantages of Open Access

There are many advantages associated with Open Access. The ones mentioned below are what many consider to be the most important and promising.

Levels the playing field

  • Open Access lets everyone with an Internet connection access research results: the public, small institutions, and developing countries now can have the same access as well financed research institutions.

Increases readership

  • Easy access means more downloads which can lead to more citations, press coverage, and attention.

Speeds up research

  • Less restrictive licensing allows quick sharing and dissemination of results as they happen. It also allows new research techniques, such astext mining, without fear of copyright violation.

Encourages re-use

  • Open Access encourages the reuse of research and data and sources in ways that items under full copyright cannot.

Easy sharing

  • Open Access publications can be shared with peers, even at different institutions, without fear of copyright violation.

Why do Libraries & Universities care about Open Access?

There are actually a number of reasons that Universities and libraries care about and promote Open Access publishing. The two most pressing reasons are:

The Serials Crisis

Subscriptions rates for scholarly journals usually increase every year, often at rates higher than the cost of inflation. The average subscription inflation rate for 2014 was 7%. In comparisonthe average US inflation rate has been below 6% since 1990.

Not all libraries are able to increase their budgets by this amount every year.Instead they must reallocate funding meant for other purposes or cancel subscriptions to lesser read journals in order to keep more popular titles. In short, scholarshiphas been compromised by the price tag of subscription publishing.

Preservation Concerns

Universities need to preserve the work of their faculty and students but due to nuances in copyright law, preserving digital copies of work is complicated. Open Accesslicenses can make it much easier for universities to retain, copy, distribute and preserve digital copies of scholarly work.