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Open Access: Home

Science and Humanities


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Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) "is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication." -SPARC Homepage

Below are SPARC resources that could be helpful in promoting and understanding open access.

Open Access News

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Open Access

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"Open Access" by Nick Shockey (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Open access refers to research material that is freely available online for public consumption and use. Open access initiatives have been continuing to grow over the years, and more academic institions are getting involved. The resources on this page will point to the discussion as well as provide links to open access content and aggragated material.

The often quoted definition for open access is "free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited." -Budapest Open Access Initiative

"[T]he best estimate is that by 2017 or 2018, approximately 50% of all journal articles in that year will be published as 'born open access.'" -Dr. Peter Binfield

Open Access Explained (PhD Comic)

The following video focuses mainly on scientific publications, but you still get a great idea about open access in academia.

Institutions with Open Access

The institutions below have made strides in open access. These sites provide wonderful ideas as well as innovative innitatives to move toward open access of information. 


Below is a link to Open Access events happening throughout the world.

Information Literacy and Digital Learning Librarian / Assistant Professor

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Anna Mary Williford
(205) 665-6108

Public Domain

Public domain refers to material that is no longer protected by copyright. Generally speaking, items are in the public domain if the material was created before 1923. Adjustments to the copyright law have led to material published after 1923 to vary as to whether or not it has copyright protection. Open-access articles are not necessarily in the "public domain." The author retains the copyright and can determine the limitations; however, typcially, open access articles can be downloaded, linked to, and printed free of charge. Referencing this material or copying any aspect with proper attribution is plagiarism.

Copyright and Open Access