Open access (OA) means making the information which scholars provide without expectation of payment available online at no cost to readers. Authors maintain control over the integrity of their work as well as the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. The Open Access movement often refers to scholarly articles, but also includes open science, open data, open source, and open education — freeing the research and communication cycle for faster dissemination and discovery of knowledge.
Increased visibility and greater impact
Research available in Open Access is easily discovered by anyone anywhere and, according to numerous studies listed in the Open Citation Project, is cited more often than that published exclusively in closed, subscription-based periodicals.
Authors retain their copyright
Authors control how their research is disseminated, reused, and shared. This is a major shift from traditionally transferring all copyright to publishers in order for them to make the sole profit from the research.
Society as a whole benefits
The value of scholarly activity increases through universal access as those who cannot afford costly journal subscriptions can access important research. When knowledge is shared it can be mobilised.
In 2002, the Open Society Institute adopted the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which outlines the basic tenets and principles surrounding open access, and promotes an "international effort to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the internet."
At a meeting in 2012, the basic tenets were reaffirmed and new recommendations were elaborated in the BOAI10 document. Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open.
In the intervening years open access has moved from the sidelines to a widely adopted approach to research dissemination. In publishing, long-established players are moving OA to the heart of their business strategies. Hundreds of universities have passed open access policies. Increasing numbers of national governments and funding organizations are incorporating open access and open data mandates as a condition of funding research. And most importantly, researchers are seeing the tangible benefits of increased exposure and impact that comes with putting their work in open access.