"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.
The open access movement began in the 1990s, as Internet access became widely available and digital publishing opportunities expanded. Between 1993 and 2009, open access publishing developed and rapidly expanded. In the early 2000s, key statements on open access were created:
A number of universities and colleges have adopted their own open access policies or joined OA coalitions as their faculty commit to publishing in open access journals or archiving their work in a public repository.
The federal government has also taken considerable steps to increase public access to research results, including research data. In 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum that required all grant-funding agencies create public access policies for articles and data. Since then, a number of federal agencies (including the NIH, NSF, NEH, NASA, and DOD), have created or expanded existing policies on sharing data and articles.
In order to express support for open access, many universities, institutions, and departments have passed Open Access Policies, stating that they will make their research available for free, online, through an institutional or disciplinary repository.