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What is Open Access and why should I care?

Posted by Editor on August 28, 2008

Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to throw open the locked doors that once hid knowledge. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society.

Open Access is the principle that publicly funded research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers put their weight behind it.

The Open Access philosophy was firmly articulated in 2002, when the Budapest Open Access Initiative was introduced. It quickly took root in the scientific and medical communities because it offered an alternative route to research literature that was frequently closed off behind costly subscription barriers.

Now Open Access is on a roll. Recent Funder Mandates — including that of the US National Institutes of Health (the world’s largest research funder), which now requires that all their funded research be placed in an openly accessible database — have further strengthened the prospects for Open Access to all research.

A new website at http://openaccessday.org/ has recently been established.

Open Access Day is October 14. 

This educational and fun series of events, competitions, and give-aways is brought to you by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), Students for FreeCulture, and the Public Library of Science (PLoS).

Open Access Day will help to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access, including recent mandates and emerging policies, within the international higher education community and the general public.

Here’s what Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC said about Open Access Day:

“The momentum behind Open Access to research has been accelerating for some time now, even before the mandates at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Harvard University. Events beyond the US especially underscore the higher education community’s commitment to having the access they need. Open Access Day will provide a perfect way for folks to come together, consider and celebrate the ramifications of the global shift that we are experiencing”….More

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