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Open Access – What & Why?

What is Open Access?

Open Access research literature is available online to all who can read it, free of charge and copyright restrictions for re-use.

Read this overview by Peter Suber, a professor of Philosophy at Earlham College. His has recently published a book on the topic, available at HKUST Library.

Why Open Access?

When academics publish, the copyright of their work (article, chapter, book, etc.) is usually transferred to the publisher. The publisher then restricts the use of the article. So, people who want to re-use it (even the authors! ) must get permission, and often pay an additional fee for re-use or distribution. This restricts knowledge and slows down its use, discovery, and innovation.

Part of the OA issue is Author Rights, but another very important part of OA is public access to knowledge.

  • Most research literature is funded in by governments or philanthropic organizations with a public purpose. OA allows the wide public to use and enjoy the fruits of research.
  • OA allows research results to be shared more widely than in traditional publishing.
  • OA increases the pace of the transmission and development of knowledge, scientific discovery, and innovation.
  • OA makes research more visible, increasing its use and citation.

Further information on the “why” of Open Access:

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last modified 23 February 2018