The concept of Open Access means that scientific results, mainly articles but other kinds of publications as well, are made freely available on the Internet, so that they can be read, downloaded and printed free of charge.
The most common argument in favour of Open Access is that publically funded research should be made available to the public.
Open Access is also a way of making research more visible and hopefully more noticed. For this reason the president of KTH urges KTH researchers to endeavour to publish Open Access, in a policy decision on scientific publishing.
Open Access – Background
Open Access first appeared as a reaction to substantial increases in the prices of scientific journals during the 90s. Highly respected scientific journals that were indispensable for some departments and researchers were given a very high price. The high prices have lead to a crisis in information provision, as many libraries have been unable to afford purchasing the journals. Because of this, researchers have not had access to important research results.
Meanwhile, the Internet has enabled other ways of communicating research than before. Researchers within physics were quick to take advantage of this, by creating the freely available archive Arxiv as early as 1991, where author’s versions were uploaded before they were published in traditional journals. Publication in Arxiv is done without quality control. Journal publication of the same articles is done at a later stage.
The Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Berlin declaration
In December 2001 a gathering was held by the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Budapest. This resulted in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which recommends two strategies for Open Access for scientific publications: Self-archiving and Open Access journals.
The conference “Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” held in Berlin in 2003 was the start of a more organized movement towards increased access to scientific publishing. The conference resulted in the Berlin declaration on Open Access, the aim of which is to encourage and enable researchers to publish their results freely available on the Internet, to develop methods to ensure the quality of online publishing and to work towards making open publishing a merit in evaluations and appointments. In Sweden the declaration has been signed by, among others, The Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF), the Swedish Research Council and the National Library of Sweden.
There are different methods for publishing Open Access:
- Self Archiving. While publishing in a commercial journal, you also deposit a copy of the article in an academic repository, for example the KTH publication database DiVA
- Publishing in an Open Access journal. There are more than 6000 freely available quality controlled scientific journals. You will find them in the
- “Author pays”. A solution offered by most of the large scientific publishers to those who wish to make their articles freely available. This means that the author pays a fee to have the article published Open Access. Search, for example in tha database
Funders who demand Open Access
Many research funders demand that authors publish Open Access to receive grants:
Search SHERPA/JULIET for international research funders and their conditions regarding Open Access
If you have questions regarding Open Access or require assistance with self-archiving and interpretation of agreements, please ask us.