Open Access

What is open access?

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results—to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.

Source: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

Open Access Explained

Benefits of Open Access

Source: Aston University Library Services



Aaron Swartz Was Right

An opinion piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the tragic case of Aaaron Swartz, the internet activist who paid the ultimate price for his combination of genius and conscience.

Center for Open Science

The Center for Open Science is a non-profit technology organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia with a mission to “increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research.”

Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences

The Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive literature review on strategies for converting subscription journals to open access.

Locked in the Ivory Tower: Why JSTOR Imprisons Academic Research

Universities have to pay thousands of dollars every year to read their own research. Blame the broken economics of academic publishing. An article from The Atlantic.

Open Access Directory

The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large. By bringing many OA-related lists together in one place, OAD makes it easier for everyone to discover them, use them for reference, and update them.

Open Access Week

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its tenth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

Paywall: The Business of Scholarship

A documentary focusing on the need for open access to research and science. The film questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher, Elsevier, and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google.

Scholarly publishers and their high profits

A blog post illustrating the profit margins of major academic publishers.

School of Open

School of Open is a global community of volunteers providing free online courses, face-to-face workshops, and innovative training programs on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age. Learn how to add a Creative Commons license to your work, find free resources for classroom use, open up your research, remix a music video, and more!


The first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers. Sci-Hub has over 80 million academic papers and articles available for direct download. It bypasses publisher paywalls by allowing access through educational institution proxies. The Sci-Hub domain changes frequently. If this one doesn’t work, please let us know and also check this list of working domains.

SPARC Open Access

Open access section of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) website. It includes a helpful Open Access Factsheet.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26. At the time of his death, he was facing up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for felony charges related to downloading a large number of research articles from the JSTOR database through MIT’s computer network. Swartz’s Guerilla Open Access Manifesto is said to have contributed to the prosecution’s vigorous pursuit of Swartz.

The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era

The consolidation of the scientific publishing industry has been the topic of much debate within and outside the scientific community, especially in relation to major publishers’ high profit margins.

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