What is Open Access?

Written by Ruud van den Heuvel and Gonny Kremers working at the Library of Science of the Radboud University.

Open access is a broad international academic movement that seeks free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and research data. A publication is called ‘open access’ when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or any other way within the legal agreements. Open access means that there are no financial, legal or technical barriers to access and use the information (Berbusse, 2013).

Open access is also the term for a new business model for academic publishing that makes research information available to readers at no cost. It contrasts with the subscription model, in which readers have access to scholarly information, usually via a library, by paying a subscription (Lewis, 2012).