Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, and the right to use these articles fully in the digital environment. (SPARC Open Access Fact Sheet). Many federal funding agencies REQUIRE that resulting research be made openly available. The National Science Foundation, for example, requires that publications be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication. NEH currently has no requirement for OA, NIH has a Public Access Plan, similar to NSF's.
There are two levels of OA:
Green: refers to depositing articles in an institutional repository, or a subject repository.
Gold: refers to publishing in an Open Access Journal, often these have a publication fee associated with the journal.
With the expansion of Open Access in scholarly publication, it can be confusing to understand issues related to publishing. This tab should answer basic questions about OA publishing.
Open Access at ACU: The ACU Library hosts six Open Access journals, has a Digital Repository for open publication of scholarly work and archival resources, and offers services related to open access publication.
The most common license used in OA publications and digital repositories is the Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/
These are flexible and can range from somewhat open, to completely open licenses.
Making your research output available freely online can lead to higher readership and citations. This can raise an author's impact and help with tenure and promotion. A list of studies on the benefits of OA publishing can be found here.