Open access is a broad international movement that seeks to grant free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data. A publication is defined 'open access' when there are no financial, legal or technical barriers to accessing it - that is to say when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or in any other way within the legal agreements.
Open access is a publishing model for scholarly communication that makes research information available to readers at no cost, as opposed to the traditional subscription model in which readers have access to scholarly information by paying a subscription (usually via libraries).
One of the most important advantages of open access is that it increases the visibility and reuse of academic research results. There is also criticism, and the aspect of quality deserves extra effort. The principles of open access are set out in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003). This declaration has been signed by many international organisations for academic research, including all Dutch universities and research organisations.
There are different ways of publishinging open access:
1) Full Open Access journals: publication via publisher platforms, in full open access journals. This route may involve a charge. The publication costs, known as ‘article processing charges’ (APCs), are covered by authors or by their institutions. Most research funders support open access and are willing to cover the costs themselves. A list of fully open access journals that are accessible worldwide can be found on the DOAJ website.
2) Hybrid Journals: publication via ‘hybrid’ journals. These journals are subscription journals that allow open access publication of individual articles on payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC). Thanks to a series of deals between the VSNU and several academic publishers, Dutch-affiliated researchers can publishing for free in thousands of hybrid journals.
Peter Suber, one of the earliest thought-leaders on open access, gave this definition.
Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research