What is Open Access?

“Open access refers to the practice of making peer-reviewed scholarly research and literature freely available online to anyone interested in reading it.” [1] Open source is the software version of open access. Examples include Linux, or development platforms and the projects they host like Github.

So it means ‘free?’

Yes! Open resources are free to download and use. For more information about contributing to open source software, visit Github’s open source guide.

Wait, what’s the catch? Doesn’t that mean it’s pirated?

No catch. Open access materials really are free to use. Information professionals like librarians strive to provide as much information to the public as possible for no/low cost. During a time when the economy is struggling and fake news/alternative facts are running rampant, it has more become more important to access reliable resources and allow anyone to use them. It is crucial that society has the right materials to educate themselves without a high cost. Open access is the answer to this.

One should not equate open access with piracy. Piracy is the act of using charged materials for free—the products cost money, but users find ways around payment. Unlike pirated materials, open access materials are intended for a no-charge use. For a more indepth look at piracy vs open access, check out this thesis.

What considers a resource to be “open sourced” or “open accessed?”

In order for an item to be considered “open,” it needs either an open copyright license, like Creative Commons, or it must reside in the public domain.[2] Open source software means that the source code is available for anyone to inspect, modify, and enhance.[3]

Where can I find open access resources?

The categorized links below will direct you to the open resources that suit your needs.

Social Networking

Check out DoubleMesh’s article on 12 open source platforms that you can use to create your own social networking website.

But is there more?

Absolutely. These guides are to only give you an introduction to the variety of open access resources that exist. With the right researching skills, finding open access resources will become easier over time.


[1] https://opensource.com/resources/what-open-access

[2] https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2012/02/07/11167/dramatically-bringing-down-the-cost-of-education-with-oer/



Close Menu