In the current system of scholarly communication, most original research is relatively inaccessible. Papers are published in journals which can be read only by those who subscribe themselves or work at an institution that does. As journal prices increase and library budgets get squeezed, this audience steadily declines.
Open access publishing seeks to solve this problem by making the research literature freely available to anyone who has access to the Internet. Libraries don’t have to surrender half their budgets to journal publishers, and authors gain access to the widest audience possible.
Note: As of April 7, 2008, recipients of NIH grants are now required to deposit copies of peer-reviewed papers derived from those grants into PubMed Central, and PMC has an excellent FAQ page. The Library also has created a page which brings together important information pertaining to NIH Manuscript Submission.
- Open Access Overview
Peter Suber explains the basics of what Open Access means (and what it doesn't).
Here is a selection of relevant articles:
- The Promise and Peril of 'Open Access'
Chronicle of Higher Education, v.50 #21 (January 30, 2004)
- (Mis)Leading Open Access Myths
BioMed Central (2004)
- At What Cost?
Stanford Magazine (May/June 2004)
- BMC Ophthalmology
BMC Ophthalmology is part of the extensive family of BioMed Central Journals. While access is free to readers, a small (waivable) publication fee is required.
- Journal of Vision
Produced by ARVO, Journal of Vision is a web-based journal that is free to both readers and contributors.
- Molecular Vision
Molecular Vision is one of the most widely cited journals in Vision Science, having the 4th highest impact factor in the category. Articles are freely available, though authors do have to transfer their copyright to the publisher.
- Optics Express
Optics Express is a peer-reviewed, all-electronic journal published by the Optical Society of America.
- BioMed Central
BioMed Central is an Open Access publisher with over a hundred different journals covering all areas of biology and medicine. Dozens of institutions, ranging from Bowdoin College to the National Health Service, have signed up for institutional memberships, enabling their employees to publish in BMC journals for free.
The Directory of Open Access Journals covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. They aim to cover all subjects and languages and currently have over 5000 journals in the directory.
Searches over 3 million records at more than 300 OAI (Open Access Initiative)-compliant repositories. Many of these records correspond to Open Access articles.
- Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science publishes PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, as well as several other open access journals. These are slickly produced journals that are intended to be direct competitors to journals such as Science and Nature.
- PubMed Central
PubMed Central is the free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences literature from the National Library of Medicine. It serves as both a search tool as well as an archival repository for materials from hundreds of individual journals, including those from BMC and PLoS.
MedEdPORTAL is a new approach to online publication that offers peer review for teaching resources. Examples of MedEdPORTAL publications include tutorials, virtual patients, cases, lab manuals, assessment instruments, faculty development materials, etc. MedEdPORTAL is available free to the general public and covers the continuum of medical education (i.e. undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education). MedEdPORTAL contains descriptive information about published resources and indicates how these materials may be accessed or obtained.
The Health Education Assets Library (HEAL) is a national repository/referatory of free, web-based multimedia teaching materials in the health sciences that includes videos, images, tutorials etc.
- MERLOT MERLOT is a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected on the site, along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments. MERLOT is a continually-growing catalog of resources organized into specific discipline communities and created to help faculty and students enhance their instruction and learning experience. MERLOT currently contains over 450 health-sciences-related resources.