Bailey, Charles W. Jr., (2006). What is open access? [Electronic version]. This paper appeared in: Jacobs, Neil, ed. Open Access : Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Oxford : Chandos Publishing, 2006.
Open access has been defined several times in various ways. The concept is evolving as the technology became more popular to scholars and movements aimed at developing knowledge through unlimited access to scholarly literature for free without financial, legal or technical restrictions. The article encompasses the evolution of Open Access definition based on the historical accounts of existing movements supporting the notion. Self-archiving and Open Access Journals were recommended as strategies to achieve open access to scholarly literature. Whereas, self-archiving strategies covers the Author's Personal Website, Disciplinary Archives, Institutional-Unit Archives and Institutional Repositories. The paper also gave emphasis on the characteristics of Open Access Journal and labeled the following major types of open access journal publishers: born-OA Publishers, Conventional Publishers, Non-Traditional Publishers. The open access movement believes that it can answer the critical questions of scholarly information access and that they are not interested on reforming the existing scholarly information system, but on transforming it so that it can function effectively in the rapidly changing technological environment.
Three (3) things i learned from reading the article :
1. The evolution of Open Access definition from the Budapest Open Access Initiatives, the Bethesda Statement, and Berlin Declaration. The BBB definition collectively implicates the removal of both price and permission barriers to scholarly literature access.
2. There are two(2) complementary strategies to achieve open access to scholarly journal literature coined as the Green and Gold Road to open access : Self-archiving and Open Access Journals
3. The difference of preprints, postprints and e-prints terms in digital publishing. Preprints are draft versions of articles that have not undergone peer-review or editorial review and modification. Postprints are final published versions of the articles. Both digital preprints and postprints are called e-prints.
The foundation of the movements supporting the notion of an open access system lies on the clamor that access to scholarly information is vital to the development of knowledge in the society. There is an ongoing dilemma of people on the access of specialized literature which is further associated by others as an implication of the so-called digital divide. Open access maybe defined in various ways but there exist a collective notion of using it as a tool to address access difficulties of scholars and learning institutions to scholarly literature. It is an attempt to make these literatures available to the public without legal restrictions to facilitate knowledge acquisition. At present, universities and other institutions have acknowledged the importance of open access by simply putting links on there library websites (UP Main Library, Philippine Elib). It has been tagged as the future of digital publishing and the evolution of information. With limited access to online databases due to license restrictions, i found myself benefiting from the technology of open access. I found it useful for my RA's and later for my research activities. It may not be as comprehensive as the subscribed online databases but it could be a good alternative or even a replacement to the former. Some may consider it as a threat to the existing communication system, a revolution and not an evolution to information. With the people craving for free access to information, open access could be a threat and could be an agent to an information revolution.