[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]
Open Access versus Free Access
Open access (OA) fulfills three main criteria: ease of access, available to anyone free of charge, and available for reuse, modification, and distribution under appropriate licenses—a point that many fail to understand. The author holds the copyright, and the article remains OA, as the author or the publisher cannot put it behind a paywall later.
Then what is free access? Free access permits you to just view the published content. The content cannot be used in any form without permission from the copyright holder, which often involves payment.
Some journals interchange open and free access out of confusion or for monetary gains. They make their publications freely available and call them OA journals. Well, it just makes those publications free access journals, and the publisher reserves the copyrights to reuse, distribute, or derive. It can be moved behind a paywall at any time. If somebody uses the work from a free access journal, even after giving the proper attributions, the publisher can still sue them for copyright infringement. OA publishers have a nonexclusive license and need not watch for readers or other publishers to reuse the academic publications. We must know how to differentiate OA from free access and make sure we don’t misunderstand the two.
The usage of OA publications is safeguarded by Creative Commons (CC) licenses. There are seven CC licenses:
- Public Domain (CC0): The work is free, no credit is required, can be used for commercial purposes and for derivative works.
- Attribution (CC BY): Same as Public Domain but necessary to credit the author.
- Attribution and Share-Alike (CC BY-SA): Requires credit, can be used commercially, but any derivative works must also be released under a CC BY-SA license.
- Attribution and Noncommercial (CC BY-NC): Requires credit, can modify the work, but can only use it noncommercially.
- Attribution and No Derivatives (CC BY-ND): Requires credit, can be used commercially, but does not allow modifications of any kind.
- Attribution, Noncommercial, and Share-Alike (CC BY-NC-SA): Requires credit, can modify work, but derivative works must also be released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, yet cannot be used commercially.
- Attribution, Noncommercial, and No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND): Requires credit, cannot modify the work, and cannot be used commercially.
What Does CC Allow?
Under the Creative Commons license, readers can
- translate the research;
- modify, derive, and combine the work;
- add it to educational course materials;
- redistribute the content; and
- use it commercially.
CC lasts as long as the copyrights do. OA allows research to be available to people even if the journal shuts down. This is not possible with free access journals. Free access gives you permission to see the information but not the power to utilize it.
Open access is the only way to increase scholarly communication and the impact of publishing. The surging prices of subscription-based journals have accelerated the OA movement, which encourages liberal reuse rights.
Unlock the full potential of your publications with Amnet’s OA publishing tools at https://enableoa.amnet.com/. Our products, applications, data analytics, and editorial services understand and optimize your publishing workflows to add to your growth.
1. https://www.cogsci.nl/blog/miscellaneous/192-the-difference-between-freely-accessible-content-and-open-access. 2. https://weblog.wur.eu/openscience/open-access-reuse-rights/. 3. Carroll, MW. 2011. “Why Full Open Access Matters.” PLoS Biol 9(11): e1001210. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001210. 4. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/. 5. https://www.howtogeek.com/325275/what-are-creative-commons-licenses/#:~:text=What%20Are%20Creative%20Commons%20Licenses%3F%201%20The%20Different,Licenses.%20…%204%20Using%20Creative%20Commons%20Works.%20.