October 21-25 is Open Access Week!
What is Open Access? It is a movement to provide some academic materials to users with no fee. It applies to all subject areas, all types and formats of publications. Materials acquired (usually online) for free may be freely shared with other people.
Why? Because distributing materials as Open Access allows more scholars to use the materials (and cite them) and then go on to create more well-informed projects. Often, a writer may use content from an Open Access source in a new publication, without paying hefty copyright fees. Currently, subscriptions to non-open academic journals and online database cost universities many thousands of dollars.
What about copyright? An Open Access publication is still protected by copyright. The author chooses what level of enforcement they prefer. For example, some authors approve of allowing strangers to duplicate their document or video for use in a class or in corporate training. Others request that their permission is granted for such activities. Some authors dedicate their new creations to the public domain. The level of access granted is often found in the “fine print” associated with the publication.
What about licensing? Many Open Access publications are licensed through Creative Commons. Creative Commons provides free, legally binding licenses for people wishing to share their materials freely online, but with a few restrictions. Their motto is “Some Rights Reserved”. Creators may choose to allow duplication, derivative works, or commercial use – or not. Several variations are possible. See their web site at creativecommons.org.
Where do I find Open Access materials? There are several ways to find Open Access materials. First, search Google with the words “Open Access” and your subject area. Next, search for journals at the Database of Open Access Journals, www.doaj.org. Another source is the Creative Commons searcher, which allows you to select what level of permitted use you prefer with the documents you find. search.creativecommons.org/. For Open Access scholarship from Drake University, go to collections.library.drake.edu/escholarshare-2/ EscholarShare always welcomes new contributions from Drake University faculty, staff, and students.