Open Access and the Research Scientist

Hence OA is not just about public access rights or the general dissemination of knowledge: It is about increasing the impact and thereby the progress of research itself. A work's research impact is an indication of how much it contributes to further research by other scientists and scholars – how much it is used, applied and built upon ...1

Note for WHOI/MIT Joint Program students:

The MIT Open Access Article Publication Subvention Fund is available "for reimbursement of reasonable article processing fees for articles authored by MIT faculty, research scientists, and postdocs, and accepted for publication in eligible open-access, peer-reviewed journals to cover fees when funds from any other source are unavailable."

What is Open Access?

An Open Access publication is one that meets the following two conditions2 :

  1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship3, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
  2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).



  • Scientists and scholars are willing to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge.4
  • There is growing public interest in information about science and the way that public funds are used for research.5
  • Rapidly rising journal subscription prices have severely eroded the ability of libraries, universities, and scholars to purchase the publications necessary for research and education.6
  • Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share learning.7
  • The role for copyright should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.8


OA Journals

For a current listing of scientific and scholarly open access journals, see the Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ


Notes & Sources:

Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, June 20, 2003

  1. Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.
  2. Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.

BOAI Budapest Open Access Initiative


Framing the Issue: Open Access, May 2004


Gargouri Y, Hajjem C, Larivière V, Gingras Y, Carr L, et al. (2010) Self-selected or mandated, open access increases citation impact for higher quality research. PLoS ONE 5 (10): e13636. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013636


Open-Access Publication of Medical and Scientific Research, A Public Library of Science Background Paper, December 2003


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