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Open Access & Scholarly Publishing


Open Access

What's in This Guide?

open access logo

The purpose of this guide is to help the Boston College community explore and understand new models of scholarly publishing and the benefits of open access for authors and readers.

What is Open Access?

Boston College Libraries are a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI). It 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 more information about copyright and management of rights as an author, refer to the Libraries' Copyright and Scholarship Guide.

Growth of OA

The above graphic from ROARMAP shows the increase in the number of Open Access policies from research and high education institutions from around the world over the period from 2005 to 2022. Open Access policies mandate open publication from scholarship supported by policy-holding institutions. 

Ask Questions about Open Access

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Elliott Hibbler
he / him / his
O'Neill Library
Subjects: Copyright, Law

Suber's Soundbyte

"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.


 This guide has been created by Boston College Libraries and is licensed for use under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Much credit for this guide goes to John O'Connor, a prior Scholarly Communications Librarian at Boston College, as well as other colleagues at the school.