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Open Access

This guide presents information about Open Access resources, including scholarly literature, multimedia, computer software, technicalities and challenges surrounding Open Access, and how Open Access resources will help your research

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Introduction to OA by video

A quick introduction to the concept of open access in universities.

For more information on how you can make your research more visible, visit:

This video was produced by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and McGill University Library.

Licence by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0

Workshop Recordings

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What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) literature is:

  • digital
  • online
  • free of charge
  • free from most copyright and licensing restrictions

After an author or copyright-holder consents to making their work free on the Internet, minimal or no restrictions are attached to the work.

In most fields scholarly journals do not pay authors. Authors can therefore consent to OA without loss of revenue.  OA is compatible with peer-review and all major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature support the importance of OA. Most journal editors and referees participating in peer-review donate their time and expertise.

OA literature is not free to produce but is often less expensive to produce than conventionally published literature.  Issues surrounding OA center around whether scholarly literature can be made available at no charge and whether there are alternative methods to fund OA than by charging readers or creating access barriers.

Suber, P. (2012). Open Access Overview. Retrieved from

Learn more about the benefits of Open Access resources, see:

Open Access initiative began over 40 years ago.  The most important at the time was the Project Gutenberg.  As the Internet was increasingly used as a research tool, several developments advanced Open Access sources:

Open Access Directories

         Listing of Open Access articles in Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, and Quantitative Biology.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

This service offers free, full-text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals covering a wide variety of subject and laguages.  The collection of over 6,000 journals is searchable at both the article and journal level with access to over 500,000 articles.  This is an invaluable Open Access resource.


OpenDOAR allows you to search for respositories or search repository contents.

Open Science Directory

About 13000 scientific journals are now available in the Open Science Directory. This directory is established in support of scientific work in developing countries.

OAIster (OCLC)

OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 25 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,100 contributors.

Open Access Directory

The Open Access Directory is a wiki where the open access community can create and maintain simple factual lists about open access to science and scholarship.

OA Directory

The Open Access Directory (OAD) is a compendium of simple factual lists about open access (OA) to science and scholarship, maintained by the OA community at large.