Open Access

What is Open Access?

The term Open Access (OA) is used to describe digital literature that is free of charge to read and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. OA literature can largely be found online in Open Access journals, archives, or repositories where research is posted for the public to access. OA is a movement that wants to increase public access to academic research. 

Why does Open Access matter?

Most publishers own the rights to articles that are published in their journals, so anyone who wants to read these articles has to pay to access them. Libraries such as Snowden Library pay to access many articles through databases and are able to request items from other libraries around the world through Interlibrary Loan. Unfortunately, libraries do not provide access to everything, alumni typically do not have access to their institutional library's resources, and not everyone has access to a library. The Open Access initiative strives to educate the public and provide free research to those who need it.

What are the benefits of Open Access?

  • Greater visibility and impact of research
  • Increased opportunity for collaboration
  • Easier access of information for the public
  • Contributes to education’s goal of advancing knowledge
  • Faster than traditional publishing

Where can I find Open Access journals?

Can't find what you're looking for? Try searching for an institutional repository online with a simple Google search or Ask a Librarian.

The Public Domain

A subject similar to Open Access is the public domain. Intellectual property such as books or films must have their copyright renewed every so often, and if an item's copyright expires, it goes into the public domain where it essentially belongs to the public and is not subject to copyright. 

Many works in the public domain are available online. To find a work in the public domain, visit:

Learn more about Open Access: