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Open Access: Characteristics and Benefits for the Academic Community: Introduction

Introduction to Open Access

What is it?

When we talk about Open Access (OA), we are talking about information that has been published online which can be accessed free of charge and is free of major restrictions in the way it can be used. The concept of Open Access is based on eliminating obstacles, such as costs and permission requests, that can obstruct the access and distribution of information.

Where does it come from?

The Open Access movement is the international researcher community’s response to the crisis provoked by the excessive increase of academic journal prices. This situation has caused a lot of people and educational institutions to not have access to the vast majority of scientific literature produced around the world, much of which has been produced through publicly funded investigations. Open Access seeks to mitigate this issue by creating publication and dissemination models that allow more people to benefit from this knowledge attained through research.

Open Access Directory



The Open Access Directory is great for learning more about Open Access. It provides information about many terms and concepts associated with the topic, and has links to useful sources of openly available material.  




OAIster is a search tool that allows you to locate resources stored in thousands of open access repositories. This tool emerged out of a project initiated by the University of Michigan. Currently, OAlster is managed by OCLC, one of the most important international organizations focused on broad access to information.   

To search open access content through OAlster, visit

Open Science

Open Science is a comprehensive resource that you can use to learn about all aspects of the Open Access movement and stay up-to-date on the most recent developments in this area. It is also a source from which you can access openly available resources.

Budapest Open Access Initiative

The Budapest Open Access Initiative, a declaration issued on February 14, 2002, was one of the first international proclamations about the importance of providing open access to research information. This statement was made when the potential for broad online dissemination was still a relatively new topic. The declaration described the enormous positive global impact of delivering free open access to scientific literature online.

To access the complete text of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, visit

The introductory paragraph of the declaration is presented below:

“An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds. Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”

Open Access Concepts

Green Open Access

Refers to material that can be found through diverse types of open access digital repositories.

Gold Open Access

Refers to material published in open access academic journals or books.

Gratis Open Access

Refers to material that can be accessed without payment.

Libre Open Access

Refers to material that is not only available free of charge, but is also free or mostly free of most use restrictions.

If you would like to learn more about these concepts, please visit the following link:

Green, Gold, Gratis and Libre Open Access - Brief Overview for Beginners

International Open Access Week 2021

International Open Access Week 2021 was held October 25-31 of said year. Click on the image to learn more about this event.

Versión en español de esta guía

Translation of this guide

This guide was originally created in Spanish. The translation effort to create this English version was led by student Daniella Angueira.

Writings by Peter Suber on Open Access

Peter Suber is one of the most prolific advocates for Open Access. Here we include links to some of his work.

Open Access

In this book, Peter Suber thoroughly explains the concept of Open Access and expresses why this model of scientific communication greatly benefits the global community of researchers and society in general. You can access the content by clicking on the image.

Writings on Open Access

Collection of works by Peter Suber on the concept of Open Access. The collection is a collaboration with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University.

Research Librarian

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José J. Morales Benítez
él - he / him
Univ. Puerto Rico - Mayaguez
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