"Open access" (OA) is a term that describes the movement away from the traditional publishing model to one using open access as a means of information dissemination. Authors or researchers using OA will use the Internet as the main space to publish their work, typically free of charge, with limited or no copyright and licensing restrictions typically associated with commercial publishers.
Open access places just as much importance on peer review for its evaluation of scholarly literature, with the addition of greater dissemination of reviewed works due to fewer access restrictions. Access is generally provided either by including works in an institutional repository or open access archives, or in a separate open access journal.
Though free to access, delivery of open access content is not without cost. Server space and staffing time require expenses to maintain an OA platform, the price of which varies depending on whether a journal or repository is chosen. The greater aim of open access in not necessarily to find ways of eliminating the high cost associated with traditional publishing, but rather reducing the cost in connection with more widespread dissemination.
Types of Open Access
Open Access publishing is evident in a variety of models. Generally, there are three categories into which OA can be classified, Gold, Green, and Hybrid. These distinctions highlight the differences of factors such as author responsibility and ease of access by the user. The following is a simplified distinction:
Peter Suber provides a more thorough description of the OA distinctions in his detailed OA overview.