University of Wisconsin–Madison

Open Access Day

Open Access Day is sponsored by SPARC, Public Library of Science and Students for Free Culture.  Today includes a live video webcast and will be hosted in over 100 locations across the world, combined with a variety of local programs.  For more information about this international event, check it out at:

Now that you know that today is Open Access Day, you might want to ask what exactly is Open Access, and how can scholars benefit from it?  According to Peter Suber in, Very Brief Introduction to Open Access, “Open-access literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.”

Things to know about Open Access:

  • Open Access (OA) is literature that is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions when authors or copyright-holders provide consent.

  • Open Access is compatible with peer review.

  • Open Access is not free to produce, although it is less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature. 

Two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles are OA journals and OA archives or repositories

OA Journals perform peer review and then make the approved contents freely available to the world.  Their expenses consist of peer review, manuscript preparation, and server space.

OA Archives or Repositories do not perform peer review, but simply make their contents freely available to the world.  They may contain unrefereed preprints, refereed postprints, or both. 

For more information on Open Access (OA) see, and for information on how is the UW is supporting Open Access (OA) see:

What is Minds@UW  -

Minds@UW helps you gather, distribute, and preserve digital research and teaching materials.  Minds@UW is indexed by Google, Google Scholar and specialty academic search engines. 

Submitted by Jenny Zook, Reference Librarian on October 24, 2008

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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