Open Access is free, immediate, permanent online access to the full text of research articles for anyone, web wide, without the severe restrictions on use commonly imposed by publisher copyright agreements.
There are two roads to open access:
· the “green road” of open access self-archiving, where authors provide open access to their own published articles, by making their own e-prints (the final accepted version) freely available to all by placing them in institutional or central repositories;
the “golden road” of open access journal-publishing, where journals provide open access to their articles (either by charging the author/institution, a publication or processing fee instead of charging a subscription fee from the user/institution, or by simply making their online edition free for all and recouping the publication and production costs from other source).
An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:
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 authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
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).
The two roads to open access, viz. open access self-archiving and open access publishing, are complementary. Normally, by open access we mean open access to refereed research papers. But open access does not exclude other forms of scholarly material such as preprints, theses, conference papers and reports.