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Open Education Resources (OER): What is Open Access?

Characteristics of Open Access

OA has the following characteristics:

  • It applies to royalty-free literature, for which authors receive no direct financial compensation.
  • It is free of price barriers, such as subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees.
  • It is generally considered to also be free of permission barriers, such as most copyright and licensing restrictions (although OA does require that proper attribution of works be given to authors).

(CARL - Canadian Association of Research Libraries)

What is Open Access (OA)?

Basically, open access (OA) means access to scholarly works in the open - on the open Web.

  • OA removes price barriers (subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees)
  • OA removes permission barriers (most copyright and licensing restrictions)
  • OA journals, like traditional journals, use contracts with authors to secure the needed permissions and avoid infringement.  A common way for copyright holders to show their consent to OA is to use one of the Creative Commons licenses or one of the many other open licenses.


This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) unless otherwise noted.

Based on a work at