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Open Access

Open Access Definition

Open Access (OA) refers to digital, scholarly content that is available online and accessible to anyone with the technological means of accessing it. OA literature is available free of charge and has few, if any, copyright or licensing restrictions. OA means that people can access high quality resources and information without paying the high cost of subscription or access fees. Information can become OA when authors chose to attach a creative commons license to their work, or publish through an OA journal that promotes the free dissemination of scholarly work. OA aims to remove pricing and copyright barriers to equalize access to information across the globe (Suber 2015).

Open Access Benefits

Open Access (OA) allows more people to access scholarly works for their own research, improvement and educational needs. Clinicians with smaller practices, underfunded medical facilities, and medical organizations in remote areas may have extremely limited access to the latest news and research within their field. OA helps lower that barrier, because users do not have to pay exorbitant subscription fees to access vital medical information resources.

Open Access also increases an author’s citation impact, as the likelihood that a work will be cited as a resource increases as more people have access to that work. This helps increase an author’s influence in their field and gain more recognition for their work. In a study conducted by Gargouri, et al., OA had a statistically significant, positive impact on the number of citations an article received (2010). Hua et al., also found that in the field of oncology, OA articles received more citations than traditionally published articles (2017). Alternatively, a randomized control trial found that OA increased readership, but did not have a significant impact on citations within the first year of publication (Davis, Lewenstein, Simon, Booth, & Connolly, 2008). Overall, most research agrees publishing in OA journals has definite benefits for authors and readers.