What is Open Access (OA)?
The purest form of open access advocates unimpeded access to scholarly research in digital format that is free from most copyright and licensing restrictions. This means that the material is available without a subscription charge for anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, print, display and modify. From a practical standpoint this means that anyone with access to the Internet can find and use, to the fullest capacity, any open access publication.
"HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum", (c) 2012 SPARC and PLOS, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0."
PLOS, SPARC and OASPA collaborated to create a guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access.” The guide provides an easily understandable, comprehensive, and quantifiable resource to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on publisher policies.