HomeFocus AreasOpen ScholarshipOpen Access

Open Access

A formal definition of open access can be found in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), a public statement of principles first articulated in 2001: By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. ARL is a signatory to BOAI and on November 1,  2011, also endorsed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, a complementary statement.

A third statement on open access is the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, which is a set of principles drafted at a 2003 meeting hosted by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin statements form the foundational base of statements on open access. Both free access and reuse rights are important components of open access.

Research libraries support open access in a variety of ways, from raising awareness of open access through events such as Open Access Week to developing scholarly communication programs that provide information and guidance to their institutions. They also are engaged in advocacy efforts that are designed to increase the availability and amount of open access literature.   


Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI)

Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE)

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE)

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Resources and Directories

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Ellen Finnie Duranceau and Sue Kriegsman, Implementing Open Access Policies Using Institutional Repositories in The Institutional Repository: Benefits and Challenges, ALCTS Publishing

Good practices for university open-access policies

How Open Is It? Guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”

Open Access Directory (OAD)

Open Access Now

Open Access Overview by Peter Suber

Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook (OASIS)

SHERPA/JULIET funder policies information

Public Access to Taxpayer-Funded Research

One important component of open access is public access to research that is funded by taxpayers. ARL works with SPARC and other partners to advocate for policies to provide access to federally funded research by making the results of scientific research freely accessible to those who can use it.


Alliance for Taxpayer Access

Open Access Working Group

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)




Coalition for Networked Information Logo
Library Copyright Alliance Logo
The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Logo