Why OA Matters

Texas A&M library is an active advocate of open access, believing that open access can help address both the price barriers and the permission barriers that undermine global access to the products of Texas A&M University’s scholarly and creative work, as well as helping alleviate the serious issue of providing Texas A&M scholars access to the world’s scholarly literature due to rising subscription costs. Our Libraries’ programs seek to provide the tools and services that remove barriers to scholars publishing their scholarship as open access.

What Is Open Access?

Open Access refers to free and unrestricted availability of scientific or scholarly literature on the Internet. Open Access provides several benefits, including:

  • Increased Visibility: Open access literature is much more accessible than print-only publications. For researchers, the barriers to access of literature, such as subscription costs and inconveniences associated with the traditional model, are removed. As more scholarly information is made freely available, scholars are relying much more on materials that they can find and retrieve online. Authors must consider how their research will potentially be found and used as they plan for future publications.
  • Increased Impact: The obvious result of higher visibility of open access literature is that open access leads to increased impact and a greater citation rate. Multiple studies conducted over the last several years show that open access materials are cited at a higher rate than articles that are published traditionally.
  • Reduced cost: For libraries, open access relieves the burden associated with the ever-increasing cost of serials subscriptions. Many academic libraries, including those at the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and Cornell University, are experiencing subscription costs that are growing faster than their purchasing budgets. If a researcher publishes with a traditional print-only publication, their colleagues at these universities may have no access to their writing.

For more information, visit the following resources:

  • SPARC – The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition was developed by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to promote change toward open access in scholarly communication.
  • Create Change – Create Change was developed by SPARC and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) to educate faculty and authors about the new model of scholarly communication.
  • Open Access Newsletter - Hosted by SPARC, Peter Suber’s monthly open access newsletter provides timely information about legislative and academic issues regarding open access. Back issues of the newsletter can be found here.
  • Open Access Overview - This overview by Peter Suber is a comprehensive look at the open access model of scholarly communication.
  • Scholarly Communication Toolkit - The Scholarly Communication Toolkit was put together by the American Library Association and presents the major issues in scholarly communication as they relate to libraries, authors and researchers.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals – The Directory of Open Access Journal lists thousands of journals in various academic fields that make their content freely available online.
  • Texas Digital Library's Open Journal Systems – An online management system for open access journals. Using this tool, you can begin an open access journal, or transition an existing print journal to open access.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO - The SHERPA group has compiled a list of many publishers' policies towards open access and has used a color-coding scheme to identify them.
  • OpenDOAR - OpenDOAR is an online directory of academic open access repositories. Each repository in the directory is visited and verified as scholarly by project staff.
  • HowOpenIsIt? A Guide for Evaluating the Openness of Journals – Created by SPARC in conjunction with PLOS and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), the HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Guide standardizes Open Access terminology in an easily understandable, comprehensive resource.

If you are interested in starting an open access journal, you can request the service directly through the Texas Digital Library (TDL), or contact your subject librarian for assistance.

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Your gifts support the University Libraries as they strive to make positive impacts on the research needs of the Texas A&M community and beyond. You may express your support with a gift or by joining the Friends of Sterling C. Evans Library.