Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2017     Views: 12

OPEN ACCESS represents an emerging model of publishing scholarly, academic research papers online, and making them freely available to everyone:

"Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do—accelerate research."¹

It began early in the 21st century as an answer to the old paradigm of having to go through paywalls or have print subscriptions to access the studies in academic journals, even though the government funds most of the scientific and medical research in the U.S. More recently, open access publishing is beginning to spread to research in other fields like the social sciences, history and art.

SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open Access & Open Data the default for research and education. 

¹ SPARC. (n.d.). Open access - why it matters. Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Retrieved from https://sparcopen.org/open-access/ 


Open Access Resources - Free Research Journal Articles or Educational Materials

  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

    DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. It includes over 9400 titles from 128 countries.

  • PubMed Central 
    PubMed Central is a digital archive of life sciences journal literature managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Authors of NIH-funded research articles must deposit a full copy of their manuscript in PubMed Central as well. This resource contains more than 4 million articles.

  • PLOS (Public Library of Science) 
    A non-profit that publishes open access high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific & medical journal articles, bringing scientists together to share their work as rapidly and as widely as possible.

  • Free Online Full-Text Articles (HighWire Press, Inc., Stanford University) 
    This is an archive of over 2.5 million free, full-text science articles from HighWire Press, a major ePublishing platform for independent scholarly publishers, medical societies, associations, & university presses of more than 3000 journals. Some titles are entirely free, some have embargo periods where access to the most recent 12 to 24 months of content is not available for free.

  • Open Library of Humanities (OLH) 
    The OLH mission is to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities. The peer-reviewed scholarship published by this UK-based non-profit showcases research in the humanities disciplines – from classics, modern languages and cultures, philosophy, theology and history, to political theory, sociology, anthropology, film and new media studies, and digital humanities.

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