WHAT IS OPEN ACCESS?
"A fair model of distributing academic findings should be designed to maximise access and minimise costs to the public. With the new forms of publications available online, it is now possible to have academic information openly available at minimal cost.
Open Access refers to a way of making material available on the Internet for anyone to read and use free of charge. For example, using Creative Commons licences and Open Access repositories, access to and redistribution of scholarly materials without a user fee becomes possible. Open Access distributors provide the information and articles they distribute at no cost to the end-user. This is accomplished through a website where articles or other works are stored in a database from which users can read and download material.
Open Access services are funded by fees charged to the creator of the work and paid for by grants provided by governments, their institution, or other organisations. Many academic researchers have opted to use part of the public research funding they receive to pay for the services that Open Access distributors and publishers provide. Some research funding agencies are starting to provide specific funds for publishing articles in these Open Access repositories. The Welcome Trust (UK), National Institute of Health (US), and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Canada) have all introduced similar initiatives. Not only will this result in wider distribution of journal articles, but in significantly higher levels of citation as the articles are more easily found. While users have the ability to access, copy, and redistribute original works at no additional cost, creators are still able to require attribution to mitigate commercial use. Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Science has recently mandated that all research published from that faculty will be available through Open Access."