Open access (OA) means that materials are made freely available to the general public.
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.
Works are generally made open access by following one of two paths, which have been labeled "gold open access" and "green open access." Hybrid OA is a third "in between" option.
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 Drive to 25.
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.