Faculty & Staff Guide

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition defines open access as "free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment" ("Open Access", n.d.). Open access has multiple benefits such as increasing the impact of research findings and ensuring that government-funded research is made accessible to the public. 

Key Facts about Open Access (OA) & Scholarly Communication:

  • In most disciplines, academic journals do not pay authors; authors can thus retain their rights and consent to publish in OA venues without losing revenue
  • OA is wholly compatible with peer review, with the majority of OA journals implementing a rigorous peer review process for research-based articles
  • The Government of Canada has an official policy endorsing OA:

"The harmonized Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications requires all peer-reviewed journal publications funded by one of the three federal granting agencies to be freely available online within 12 months. Canada’s three federal granting agencies are: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The policy will require NSERC and SSHRC funded researchers to comply with the policy for all grants awarded May 1, 2015 and onward" ("New Open Access Policy for Research", 2015).

Need help or want to learn more about open access or OER? Contact the library!

View the video or follow the links below for more introductory resources:

Fortney, K. (n.d.). Open access [digital image]. Retrieved from http://librariandesignshare.org/2012/12/14/styling-open-access/

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation provides the following definition of OER:

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. ("Open Educational Resources", n.d.)

According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, the OER movement consists of 4 categories:

1) OpenCouseWare (OCW):  "the digital publication of high quality educational materials that are freely and openly licensed, and are available online to anyone, anytime" such as massive open online courses (MOOCs)

2) OER Publishers: "new open publishing efforts for textbooks and other OER" that "includes initiatives geared toward developing specific collections of OER, such as Khan Academy and the Saylor Foundation"

3) OER Repositories: "a convenient place to find, share and remix OER from a variety of sources" such as portals, gateways, and institutional repositories

4) Publicly-Funded Initiatives: projects that "support the development of OER and ensure that taxpayer-funded educational resources are openly licensed," such as the B.C. Open Textbook Project


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