For an introduction to open access, check out this video:
In a world with complete open access, anyone in the world would be able to access and build upon research literature in order to increase the value of the research literature. However, in the real world we currently suffer from the research access/impact problem which arises because journal articles are not accessible to all of their would-be users and are therefore losing potential research impact. The solution is to make all articles Open Access – accessible online, for free, immediately, by all (Harnad et al, 2004).
The legal basis of Open Access is the consent of the copyright holder (for newer literature) or the expiration of copyright (for older literature). One easy, effective, and increasingly common way for copyright holders to manifest their consent to open access is to use one of the Creative Commons licenses (Suber, 2015).
It is also important to remember that the campaign for the open access focuses on literature that authors give to the world without expectation of payment. First, it reduces costs for the provider or publisher. Second, it enables the author to consent to open access without losing revenue (Willmers, 2016). Whilst royalty free literature is the low hanging fruit for open access, royalty producing content such as textbooks is also a near possibility for open access, given the author’s permission.
However, not all scientists are comfortable sharing dat. Some point out there is an obvious competitive disadvantage to sharing data before publication. In an academic culture that rewards the first to report a finding and for which publication is critical for promotion, sharing might seem unfair to early career scientists and unacceptable to more established investigators (Ketsdever, 2015).
Types of Open Access
The gold road: Researchers publish their article in specific open access journals.
The green road: Researchers publish their articles in non-Open Access journals but also self-archive it in an open access archive.
Peter Suber, Open Access Overview, https://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
Steven Harnad et al, The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access, http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0098791304001480/1-s2.0-S0098791304001480-main.pdf?_tid=917e5184-3376-11e7-974f-00000aacb361&acdnat=1494197180_ca206fb406178fd23ef4fb73ceb8b538
Michelle Wilmers, Pros and Cons of Open Data, https://www.slideshare.net/michellewillmers/pros-and-cons-of-open-data-a-global-south-perspective