Library:Scholarly Communications/Benefits of Open Access

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Benefits of OA

Open Access leads to research being cited more often and more quickly

  • Openness facilitates visibility, discovery, and re-use. It can accelerate the rate of scholarly exchange and progress in research.
  • Research shows that Open Access is correlated with higher citation rates, increasing the impact of both articles and journals. For more information, see this continually updated bibliography of studies on the effect of Open Access and downloads, from The Open Citation Project.

Open Access makes research available to everyone

  • “For four decades, subscription prices have risen significantly faster than inflation and significantly faster than library budgets”. These skyrocketing journal prices have led to an access crisis. As institutions are forced to cancel subscriptions because of rising prices, fewer individuals have access to scholarly research: most of which was publicly funded and provided to publishers at no cost. Most faculty are aware of gaps in there libraries, but generally unaware of their causes, and unaware that the problems are systemic [1]
  • Even the wealthiest academic libraries in the world are suffering access gaps, and these gaps are worse still in the developing world: “In 2008, Harvard subscribed to 98,900 serials and Yale to 73,900. The best-funded research library in India, at the Indian Institute of Science, subscribed to 10,600” [2].
  • OA provides access to professionals outside of academic institutions who might not otherwise have access. Studies show that government and policy analysts are bringing more research into their decisions now that a portion of it is available freely online [3].

Funding agencies are requesting or mandating Open Access

  • Increasing numbers of funding bodies, particularly in health research, are mandating or requesting OA to the results of the research they fund, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the US National Institutes of Health, and the Wellcome Trust.
  • To find out more about funding agency Open Access policies, see Funder OA Policies.

Research organizations are encouraging or mandating Open Access

  • Research and academic institutions and departments are establishing policies encouraging or mandating OA to research outputs, including Harvard University, Stanford University, and MIT.
  • To find out more, visit our page on Institutional Open Access Mandates.



  1. See Suber, P. (2012). Open Access. MIT Press.
  2. See Suber(2012), p.30.
  3. See Willinsky, J. (2006). Why Open Access to Research and Scholarship? The Journal of Neuroscience, 26(36).