Open acess is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. with open access strictly defined, or libre open access, barriers to copying or reuse are also reduced or removed by applying an open license for copyright. the main focus of the open access movement is peer reviewed research literature. historically this has centered mainly on print based academic journals. whereas conventional journals cover publishing costs through access tolls such as subscriptions, site licenses or pay per view charges, open access journals are characterised by funding models which do not require the reader to pay to pay to read the journals contents or they relay on public funding. open access can be applied to all the forms of published research output, including peer reviewed and non peer reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters, monographs, research reports and images.
The emergence of open science or open research has brought to light a number of controversial and hotly debated topics. scholarly publishing invokes various positions and passions. for example, authors may spend hours struggling with diverse article submission systems, often converting document formatting between a multitude of journal and conference styles, and sometimes spend months waiting for peer review results. the drawn out and often contentious societal and technological transition to open access and open science particularly across north america and europe has led to increasingly entrenched positions and much debate. the area scholarly practices increasingly see a role for policy makers and research funders. giving focus to issues such as carrer incentives, research evaluation and business models for publicly funded research. subscription based publishing typically requires transfer of copyright from authors to the publisher so that later can monetise the process via dessimination and reproduction of the work with oa publishing typically authors retain copyright to their work, and license its reproduction to the publisher
Since open access publication does not charge readers there are many financial models used to cover costs by other means. open access can be provided by commercial pubishers who may publish open access as well as subscription based journals, or dedicated open access publishers such as public library of science and biomed central. another source of funding for open access can be institutional subscribers. advantages and disadvantages of open access have generated considerable discussion amoungst researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies and government officials. reactions of existing publishers to open access journal publishing have ranged from moving with enthusiasm to a new open access business model, to experiments with providing as much free or open access as possible to active lobbying against open access proposals.