Open access (OA) is a model of scholarly communication that has been presented as an alternative to traditional academic publishing. OA materials are freely available online with little or no restrictions to access. The open access movement pushes back against the traditional model of publishing whereby authors sign their scholarly work over to publishers, who in turn charge academic institutions and the general public large sums of money for access to this information. In general, the open access movement supports the idea that research--particularly research funded by the public--should be available to the public at no charge. The open access movement seeks to empower authors to retain control over their own work and share it with the public as they see fit.
Works are generally made open access by following one of two paths, which have been labeled "gold open access" and "green open access." In addition to these two types of open access, there exist hybrid models that combine traditional and open access publishing strategies. See Peter Suber's Open Access Overview page for more information about these models of open access.
Washington State University is committed to sharing its knowledge with the local and global community. Because of its land-grant heritage, the university is uniquely positioned to help resolve problems related to health, water, food, energy, education, and quality of life. Overall, the open access philosophy fits neatly both with the goals espoused by the university's primary funders and the recommendations issued as part of the 120-Day Study of the WSU Research Enterprise. This latter study was completed at WSU in 2014 in order to better understand how local expertise can be more widely shared with regional and global audiences--a mission in keeping with open access publishing.
Open access allows researchers to increase the visibility of their scholarship in a digital world. Studies suggest that research made available open access receives more citations than work published solely through traditional methods. Open access publishing allows researchers to share their expertise with a global audience.
The rising cost of academic publishing has inspired interest in open access solutions. For instance, research libraries experienced an approximately 300% increase in journal prices between 1986 and 2006 while the consumer price index remained at approximately 84% over the same time period (for details, see the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an international alliance of academic and research libraries that advocates for increased open access). Overall, by eliminating subscription costs, OA may provide a more viable economic model for maintaining access to information.
(Taken from College of Wooster. (2013). Open Access Resolution. Retrieved from http://openaccess.voices.wooster.edu/faq/avg-journal-cost)