What Is Open Access?
"Open access" is free, unrestricted, online access to scientific and scholarly research. There are two primary vehicles for providing open access: open access journals, and open access archives or repositories, such as eScholarship@UMMS.
The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about open access and new models of scholarly publishing.
Read A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access, by open access advocate Peter Suber.
PhD Comics Explains Open Access
8-minute animated video explaining open access and why it's important, from PhD Comics
Dr. Hong Yu on Open Access
How Open Access Empowered a 16-Year-Old to Make Cancer Breakthrough
An interview on Open Access to research journals with Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Jack Andraka, the 16-year-old inventor of a breakthrough cancer diagnostic and winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Why Open Access?
- Better visibility and higher impact for scholarship. Research has shown that articles available freely online are more often cited and have greater impact than those not freely available.
- OA articles in Nature Communications attract more views and downloads (Research Information Network, Aug. 2014)
- Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research (Gargouri et al., 2010)
- Study finds that open access journals are 47% more likely to be referenced in English Wikipedia than closed journals (Teplitskiy et al, 2015)
- More knowledge leads to better patient outcomes. Opening access to research will allow all doctors access to relevant information for decision making, leading to more effective treatments and better outcomes. Access to medical research is also crucial for patients and patient advocates.
- Return on the public's investment in taxpayer-funded research. Open access allows the public to see the results of that investment.
- To help achieve science's full potential by removing price barriers. With open access, researchers worldwide can read and build on the findings of others without restriction.
- Improved education. Faculty and students will not be limited by the selection of scholarly journals their campus libraries are able to provide.
Scan this September 2015 Twitter conversation about why we need open access ... "raise your hand if you've ever wanted to read an article you couldn't access."
"A Story to Tell": Read this short piece that tells the true story of a physician's efforts to nationally distribute an operating room checklist that could potentially save thousands of lives - complicated by the fact that the authors had signed over their copyrights to a publisher.
"Gold" Open Access: Publishing in an open access journal
"Hybrid" Open Access: An option now offered by many traditional publishers where an author can pay a publication fee to make an article open access.
Embargo: A fixed delay between the time a publication or data is deposited into a repository and the time it is made public
Version Terminology: Here are generally accepted definitions for a journal article in its various versions as it moves through the publication process:
- Pre-print: Version first submitted to publisher, before peer review
- Post-print: Final version after peer review, also know as the "accepted manuscript". This is the version mandated in the NIH public access policy and in most institutional open access mandates.
- Publisher's version/PDF: Copyedited version with publisher's formatting and paging
See also the VERSIONS Toolkit, which has practical advice for academic researchers as authors.
Students and Open Access
The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC), a student organization formed in 2009 with nearly 7 million members, has published a student guide to open access publishing: “Optimize Your Publishing, Maximize Your Impact.” This resource presents students with the ways in which they can make their research openly available for the widest possible readership and lays out the benefits of doing so – both as authors and as readers. This is a great resource for student authors.
Also check out Three Things Students Can Do Now to Promote Open Access from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Lisa Palmer, MSLS, AHIP
Institutional Repository Librarian
Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, MA, MLIS
Head of Research and Scholarly Communication Services
Facts and Figures (as of September 30, 2014)
(Inspired by Heather Morrison's Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series)
- Over 2,200 academic peer-reviewed open access books from 70 publishers
- 2700 academic open access research repositories
PubMed Central (PMC)
- 3.2 million free full-text biomedical and life sciences articles are archived in PubMed Central
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
- 53 Nobel laureates as authors, through 2013 (more stats available in their 2014 progress update)
- UMMS authors have published 300 articles in BioMed Central journals
- 430 billion web pages, 1.7 million videos, 133,000 concerts, 2 million audio recordings, 6.5 million texts