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Open Access

Open Access (OA) is a publishing model that facilitates unfettered and unrestricted access to scientific research immediately they are published. Riding on the current ubiquity of access to internet globally, OA now makes it possible for anyone anywhere in the world to readily discover, access, read, cite and disseminate OA research free of cost. When you choose to publish your research under an OA license, you contribute to a global movement for the advancement of equity in information access through the increased visibility and transparency the OA model offers your research. 

Why Open Access?

Traditionally, the majority of scholarly publishers operate a paywall publishing model in which they own the rights to all articles or book chapters published in their journals or edited book volumes or monographs. Members of the scientific community or any member of the public who would like to read these articles or chapters have to pay a fee for access. To subsidize access to these research materials for their academics and students, most universities, institutions and libraries have had to engage in very expensive and often difficult subscription negotiations with these publishers. As if that is not enough, after buying these articles or book chapters, research scholars, students or members of the public cannot reuse any bit of information or any of its components without obtaining express permission from the publisher sometimes at additional cost. Thus, saddling this publishing model with a lot of access and reuse restrictions that limits the ready dissemination of new scientific knowledge.

The Open Access Model

The Open Access model on the other hand, is increasing in popularity because of the heavy limitations the commoditization of scientific knowledge by traditional publishing models has placed on the core values of science: to accelerate the improvement and welfare of the society and to aid the advancement of mankind; as well as on the core values and principles of scientists: openness, collegiality and objectivity.


To uphold these values and principles, the Open Access model eliminates these limitations by facilitating the immediate and unrestricted access to research thereby speeding up discovery transparency and access to new scientific knowledge while advancing openness and equity in the global dissemination of scientific knowledge.

How Open Access Works

Open Science and indeed the Open culture in general is fundamentally driven by the legal provisions of the Creative Commons-Attribution (CC BY) license

This licensing facilitates the rapid and broad dissemination of scholarly research while emphasizing and enforcing the requirement for scholarly credit. In other words, when authors choose to publish their research under a CC BY license, they simultaneously retain copyright for their research, while expressly granting permission to anyone on the face of the earth to access, read, share, use and remix the scholarly material for any purpose they deem fit, on the condition that original authors are fully cited or credited.

Benefits of Open Access 

Unrestricted Sharing

Choosing to publish under an Open Access license makes your research readily available to the public immediately it is published at no cost to readers. This eliminates any artificial delays in getting your scientific findings out in front of those stakeholders who need it the most, and enhances your ability to meet funding deadlines.

Maximize Reach and Impact

Unrestricted sharing also makes it easy for more scholars, students, policymakers and indeed all stakeholders to find, read, use, reuse and remix your work, thereby extending and maximizing both the reach and impact of your study.

Demonstrate Leadership

Consistently publishing using an Open Access license, demonstrates your commitment to the core principles and values of science, and accelerates your recognition as a scientific leader advocating quality, transparency and collaboration in scientific research.

Beyond Access

While the first thing that readily comes to mind when Open Access is mentioned is the ease with which research can be shared and read, Open Access is way beyond mere unrestricted access. It is foundational in enabling the reproduction and replication of research, fosters an increased level of innovation and collaboration in research, and maximizes research impact. 

Are All Access Truly Open?

The number of publishers of journals and books that are adopting the Open Access model is increasing exponentially. However, the breadth and depth of adoption of Open Access varies across board. Some of such publishers selectively adopt and implement some of the core elements of the Open Access model. For instance, some provide temporary access to research for a period of time before implementing a paywall on the same research, others place a temporary embargo on published research for a period of time during which a paywall is implemented ensuring readers pay to access the research, and after the duration is elapsed, the embargo is lifted and the same research is made Open Access. Yet others may open research to a select group of readers while implementing a paywall for other readers. True Open Access is not implemented partially or temporarily. True Open Access models are completely open. Click here to learn more about the different levels of openness

Where to Begin?

Since it is possible to apply Open Access principles to every component of your research and not only the entire research, you can literally begin anywhere. You can share your research data, code and methods; use tools for openly disclosing and crediting research contributors and publishing peer reviews to ensure both fairness and transparency in the peer review and publishing process.

Want to learn more about Open Access?

The following organizations have been pioneering advances in the Open Science movement. Visit them to learn more

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Embrace Openness. Embrace the Future.

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