Open Access: An overview



In recent years, open access (OA) becoming an important subject matter for researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, and learned-society publishers (Roy, Mukhopadhyay & Subal, 2012). Open access literature can be applied to all forms of published research output, including scholarly journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters and monographs (Schopfel, 2013; Suber, 2011; Meredith, 2012). One of the key channels is the scholarly literature sources, which researchers support by contributing their research outputs; it should be distinguished from common-property resources, which allows many researchers to share the resources (Tietenberg, 2006). Open access is entirely compatible with peer review, and all the major open access initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on its importance.

There are many open access resources/databases available for management professionals like Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJS), Directory of Open Access Books, Shodhganga-Indian ETDs (INFLIBNET), etc. for academic, practice, and research, besides using different type of tools, directories, library websites, portals, blogs, forums, and social networks for accessing information. Management education is also an important subject to study in the world. There are many courses/degrees available for students to study on a regular and / or correspondence basis. The use of new technologies in management teaching is a trend that is catching up fast. Presently, the management education system highly depends on Internet- based information and communication system like other subjects.

Open access movement:

The concept of open access existed at the time of distribution of scientific materials globally without any barriers, but it was expensive in the past decade. Open access provided worldwide by researchers when the possibility was opened by the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web. The momentum was further increased by a growing movement for academic journal publishing reform with it gold and libre open access. Electronic publishing created new benefits as compared to paper publishing, but beyond that, it contributed to causing problems in traditional publishing models.

The revolution of the open access movement started in the 1990s with the releasing of the information retrieval initiative World Wide Web by CERN and Tim Berners-Lee. World Wide Web is a strong hypermedia information retrieval project, which gives access to large numbers of documents to the world without any restriction. If a person wants to access information through the World Wide Web, he/she needs to get help from a browser like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. This is one of the important milestones in the movement of open access.

Another precipitating factor to open access movement is that existence of, a repository of e-prints or pre-prints of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, and quantitative finance, which could be accessed online in the year 1991. It was originally developed by Paul Ginsparg, and is now hosted and operated by the Cornell University. The arXiv is not peer review repository; we can submit a document in any of format including LaTeX, PDF, MS Word other than TeX or LaTeX.

In 28 November 1994, Stevan Harnard at the Network Services Conference in London proposed to the authors to self- archive their own research output in their own website. His purpose was to provide open access of research materials. Self-archiving of research outputs as well as book chapters and theses in their own institutional repository or archive gives maximum accessibility, usage, and impact. Thus, in 1994, the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) was founded in collaboration with Michael Jensen and Wayne Marrthe. It is an open access repository of scholarly research in the field of social sciences and humanities owned by the Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. (SSEP). Later, the PubMed experimental data base was released in 1996 under the Entrez retrieval system with full access to MEDLINE. PubMed was searched approximately two million times for the month of June 1997, while its current usage exceeds three million searches per day. It was redesigned with lots of useful features including a MeSH, the Single Citation Matcher, Name of Substances synonym mapping, the Details button, and Loansome Doc. This is one of the important milestones in the era of open access. The above sentence leads to green open access and also for gold open access publishing.

The Internet archive was founded in the year 1996 to build an Internet library. It is whole and sole archival system, which suits to all kinds of academic community including persons with disability. It facilitates access to documents and files in all formats of text, .doc, audio format, video format, font magnification system, PDF, and also downloads a text content to read in the kindle eBook reader. In 1997, the idea of Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) was mooted at the annual meeting of the Association of Research Libraries. This supports free access to all kinds of research and believes in open access of research outputs to the people.

Many meetings, discussions, and decisions were taken and implemented by the scientists/departments/institution related to open access sources throughout the world. Meanwhile, scientists wanted to share information among themselves. So, the need of technical interoperability standards for archives to share catalogue information arose. The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) is an organization, which attempts to build a “low-barrier interoperability framework” for the archives. This allows people to harvest metadata to provide “value-added services”.

According to Suber, Peter (2008), Open access comes in two degrees:

• Gratis open access, which is online access free of charge, and

• Libre open access, which is online access free of charge and with some additional usage rights.

In general there are two ways authors can provide open access. They are:

Green open access is the self-archiving of articles or other materials published in an institutional or central repository or other Open Access websites. Articles do not need to be published in Open Access journals to be green as long as they are archived in an Open Access database or repository. For example, articles archived in cIRcle would be considered Green.

• Gold open access is when articles are published in any journal that is Open Access with immediate, free access. The number of Open Access journals is growing quickly as the Open Access movement grows (University of British Columbia, 2014).

In the following paragraphs, the important open access initiatives and movements have been briefly discussed.

Budapest Open Access Initiative:

A group of people from the Open Society Institute gathered to organize a conference to promote open access by implementing the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) in December 1-2, 2001 at Budapest. This is one of important milestone in the open access movement and on the 10th anniversary of the initiative in 2012, it was reaffirmed and supplemented with a set of concrete recommendations for achieving “the new goal that within the next ten years, OA will become the default method for distributing new peer-reviewed research in every field and country”. BOAI applies to all academic fields like science, arts, management, etc.

Berlin Declaration:

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is emerged in 2003 in a conference on open access hosted in the Harnack House in Berlin by the Max Planck Society. In November 2004, Google announced its Google Scholar, an important search engine, which gives access to full text of scholarly materials. By entering keywords in the search box, a person can get more number of results from different sources. While Google does not publish the size of Google Scholar’s database, third-party researchers estimate it to contain roughly 160 million documents as of May 2014 (Orduria-Malea et al., 2014). It indexes “full-text journal articles, technical reports, preprints, theses, books, and other documents, including selected Web pages that are deemed to be scholarly (Vine, Rita, January 2006). It also has a link for commercial publisher’s articles or documents, but it will give an abstract level of information”.

The Brisbane Declaration on Open Access was issued in the September 2008 conference on Open Access and Research held in Australia, hosted by the Queensland University of Technology. The participants recognized Open Access as a strategic enabled activity, on which research and inquiry will rely at international, national, university, group and individual levels.

Therefore, the participants resolved the following as a summary of the basic strategies that Australia must adopt:

1. Every citizen should have free open access to publicly funded research, data and knowledge.

2. Every Australian university should have access to a digital repository to store its research outputs for this purpose.

3. As a minimum, this repository should contain all materials reported in the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).

4. The deposit of materials should take place as soon as possible, and in the case of published research articles should be of the author’s final draft at the time of acceptance so as to maximize open access to the material.

Between 2007 -2008, two different publishers, one from the professional publishing organization and the other independent of scientist/scholar began to discuss about starting a formal association for OA publishers. Due to the highly competitive market, OA publishers of journals decided to get together to establish a suitable business model, and to share their experiences and plans with each other. Thus, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) was established on October 14, 2008 at the Open Access Day Celebration in London hosted by the Welcome Trust, an important forum in the publishing landscape. Later, book publishers also joined this association from 2011, with certain rules and regulations.

To receive all recent information and developments about OA, Peter Suber, a famous leader in the open access movement, started an open access tracking project by tagging new developments at Connotea on April 16, 2009. Later he involved others in this project. The project is available in three forms, namely, webpage, RSS feed, and email feed.

To encourage faculty and researchers, the University of British Colombia, Okanagan Senate read an Open Access Position Statement to submit their research output and works to cIRcle, UBC’s institutional repository. The statement contains:

1. One of the enduring goals of the University of British Columbia is to create and disseminate knowledge;

2. UBC is committed to disseminating the research performed at the university in ways that make it widely accessible, while protecting the intellectual property rights of its authors;

3. Changes in technology offer opportunities for new forms of both creation and dissemination of scholarship through Open Access; which is broadly defined as free availability and unrestricted use of scholarly works;

4. Open Access also offers opportunities for UBC to fulfill its mission of creating and preserving knowledge in a way that opens disciplinary boundaries and facilitates sharing knowledge more freely with the world; and

5. UBC has operated an Open Access repository since 2007 in cIRcle which is operated and maintained by the University Library.

The Senates of the Okanagan and of the Vancouver Campus endorse the following statements:

1. Faculty members are encouraged to deposit an electronic copy of their refereed and non-refereed research output and creative work in cIRcle in accordance with applicable copyright arrangements which may be in place for that work.

2. Where a faculty member has deposited a work with cIRcle, cIRcle shall be granted a non-exclusive licence to preserve and make publicly available the research contained therein.

3. The authors of works deposited with cIRcle will maintain ownership of their rights in the works. Approved by the UBCO and UBCV Senates in 2013.

Original Reference Article:

  • Prasad, N. N. (2015). Awareness and attitude towards open access sources and services among students research scholars and faculty of management colleges in Karnataka a study.


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