"Open Access" describes all information (books, articles, journals, databases, and datasets) made freely available online, with few copyright restrictions. Open access advocates believe that making research results freely available will enable faster discoveries, meta-analysis, and provide a forum for emerging and experimental work.
Who benefits from open access?
Researchers: Open access helps researchers who want to read, download, copy, share, or link to articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or reproduce results.
Libraries: Libraries subscribe to scholarly journals and share articles via interlibrary loan (subject to copyright restrictions). Open access removes both price barriers and permission barriers that undermine library efforts to provide access to research. Academic libraries also collect, preserve, and disseminate research through their open access institutional repositories.
The public: Scholarly literature is a valuable resource for members of the public. Patients and their families may need access to medical research; serious hobbyists may be interested in specialized literature; recent graduates or professionals looking to keep up with their field may be interested in the latest research.