The purpose of this guide is to help the Boston College community explore and understand new models of scholarly publishing. The guide provides information on the benefits of open access and the ways Boston College participates.
"Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder."
From Peter Suber's Very brief introduction to Open Access.
Boston College Libraries are a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI). The latter defines "open access" as follows:
By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.
In addition to benefiting consumers of scholarly information, open access also benefits scholars, increasing the visibility, influence, and potential benefit of their research. It helps redress global inequity of access to scholarship by dismantling cost barriers to research dissemination. And it returns research results more swiftly and readily to the public, who provide much of the funding for scholarly work.
For definitions of frequently used open access terms, take a look at the Open Access Glossary.