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Open Access and Open Licensing

What open access is and how open licenses work, the different types of OA materials, plus relevant Whittemore Library resources.

Open Access (OA) Means...

The Open Access Movement Logo: Anoragne lock that is opened. and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data.

Open Access |. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2023, from


OA's general definition is literally that simple.


However, the Budapest Open Access Initiative offers a much more detailed definition (for you fans of academese): 'open access' to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Read the Declaration. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2023, from


So, to access means openly-licensed scholarly items that are free and on the internet.  (And yes; here we will acknowledge that not everyone has internet access and/or tools with which to access it, and thus do not have equal access to these openly-licensed, free materials.) More on this particular equity issue later.