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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

Open Access Badge

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.


For Researchers

Author Resources

Quick Links for Authors

SPARC Canada Author's Addendum
Author's addendum template that authors can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure they retain certain rights to their work.
A database of scholarly journals' default policies on copyright and OA. Changes or exceptions may be negotiated with the use of addendums.
Author Rights Guide
Including information on open access, author rights, copyright, and open data. Created by Allison Bell, Gerstein Science Information Centre

OA Research

Institutional Repositories (IR) are one way that institutions, such as universities, can provide free access to academic work.  You may also want to search repositories to find OA research from researchers, scholars and students.

There are many IR, here are a select few:

Stanford University School of Education (SUSE) Open Archive

This is an institutional repository that makes publicly available the working papers, published articles, and other materials produced by the faculty, staff, and students at Stanford University School of Education.

Research @ University of Ottawa's repository

The Faculty of Education community in the repository of the University of Ottawa includes theses, articles, working papers, technical reports, conference papers, etc. from the University of Ottawa's Faculty of education.

Canadian Institutional Repositories

A directory of Canadian institutions with repositories maintained by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries .


What is SPARC?


Opening Access to Research

SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system.

Action by SPARC in collaboration with stakeholders – including authors, publishers, and libraries – builds on the unprecedented opportunities created by the networked digital environment to advance the conduct of scholarship.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. (2012) What is Sparc? Retrieved from

More information:

Funding Agencies

Funding Agencies and OA

The Government of Canada’s three federal granting agencies for research in the higher education sector;

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC),
  • and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

are "committed to developing a shared approach for improving access to publicly funded research in keeping with internationally recognized best practices, standards and policies for funding and conducting research".

OA Books

Open Access Books


The directory will be open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.


InTech is a pioneer and world's largest multidisciplinary open access publisher of books covering the fields of Science, Technology and Medicine. Since 2004, InTech has collaborated with more than 70 000 authors and published 1827 books and 12 journals with the aim of providing free online access to high-quality research and helping leading academics to make their work visible and accessible to diverse new audiences around the world.

Open Access

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a collaborative initiative to develop and implement a sustainable Open Access publication model for academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The OAPEN Library aims to improve the visibility and usability of high quality academic research by aggregating peer reviewed Open Access publications from across Europe.

Read About OA

OA Media

OA Movement

Inherent in the idea of Open Access is the principle that information and knowledge should be shared and developed upon collaboratively without restrictive copyright laws. 

A current environment of social networking and crowd sourcing has seen the development of another strong sub-culture - Open Access Multimedia. 

Within this culture of the scholarly and academic Open Access movement, development and use of various media is growing.

Learn More

"Open Culture: - A definition

A brief desciption of open culture and its relation to copyright laws in Canada and worldwide.

Creative Commons Canada

Site granting Creative Commons licenses to copyright holders in Canada.

An international, chapter-based student organization advocating on behalf of the free culture movement.

RIP: A remix manifesto

NFB documentary by Brett Gaylor about copyright and remix culture.

OA Images

You may find images on the web and think it is easy to just cut and paste; however,  you cannot use graphics, videos, and images from the web without determining usage permissions and copyright levels.

These websites provide copyright-friendly images you can use freely as long as you abide by any terms of use provided by the owner of the content. 

  • Creative Commons Content Directories
    This site lists websites where you will find images, music, video, and text using Creative Commons licensing.
  • Elated
    Build your website using free tools and graphics.
  • Flickr
    A great source of images and videos. Set your search options to select the Creative Commons.
  • Google Advanced Image Search
    IN the left-side navigation bar, select the "Usage Rights" option and search for copyright-free materials.
  • morgueFile
    "Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not!"
  • Pics 4 Learning
    Check this out! Copyright-free images for educational use by students and teachers.

OA Music

Before you use any of the music found on these websites read the terms of use and abide by those rules.

  • ccMixter
    A community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons.
  • Creative Commons Content Directories
    Lists websites providing images, music, video, and text that use Creative Commons licensing.
  • Free Hip Hop Beats
    Downloadable hip hop beats covered under a Creative Commons License that requires audio attribution.
  • Internet Archive
    Access to downloadable video, audio, text & multimedia in the public domain.
  • Jamendo
    All music on Jamendo is free to download and can be shared or modified depending on how each specific piece of music has been licensed.
  • Petrucci Music Library
    A wiki-based repository of musical scores available in the public domain.

OA Videos

Before you use any of the videos found on these websites read the terms of use and abide by those rules.

OA Tutorials

Further Reading

Articles and Blog Posts

Beall, J. (2012). Scholarly Open Access [Web Blog]. Retrieved from:

Coonin, B. & Younce, L. M. (2010). Publishing in Open Access Education Journals: The Authors’ Perspectives. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 29:118–132.
Accessible through TRU Library at:

Furlough, M. (2010). Open Access, Education Research, and Discovery. Teachers College Record, 112(10): 2623–2648.
Accessible through TRU Library. 


Image via Wikipedia / Public Library of Science


Laakso M., Welling P., Bukvova H., Nyman L., Björk B. C. & Hedlun, T. (2011). The  Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009PLoS ONE, 6(6):e20961. Accessible through TRU Library.

Suber, P. (2004, December 29). A very brief introduction to open access [Web log post]. Retrieved from:



Suber, P. (2010, November 6). Open Access Overview: Focusing on open access to peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints [Web log post]. Retrieved from:



Willinsky, J. & Alperin, J. P.(2011). The academic ethics of open access to research and scholarship. Ethics and Education, 6(3): 217-223. Accessible through TRU Library InterLibrary Loan program at:



Open of Course  

Open-Of-Course is a multilingual community portal for free online courses and tutorials. To fully utilize the site( forum etc) registration is necessary.

UNESCO's Open Access Curriculum for Researchers and Library Schools  

Contains a set of 5 modules for researchers and 4 modules for library schools.

FreeMind Tutorial (Video)  

Youtube video on using FreeMind Mind Mapping Software.

20+ Video Tutorials for Open Source Applications  

A number of video tutorials on open source applications.

Many Eyes Social Networking Tutorial  

Tutorial for IBM's Many Eyes Social Networking Data visualization application.

Visual Literacy  

"This e-learning site focuses on a critical, but often neglected skill for business, communication, and engineering students, namely visual literacy, or the ability to evaluate, apply, or create conceptual visual representations"

OA 1

Learn more about the differences and similarities between open access and traditional publishing in this series of YouTube videos produced by 

"An open access article and a closed access article meet for the first time. Since the closed access article has never heard of open access to scientific and scholarly information, the open access article has to explain it to him. (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.)" (2011)

OA 2

"The open access article and the closed access article meet for the second time. The closed access article has never heard of the Creative Commons licences under which the open access article has been published, so the open access article has to explain what they are. (The Creative Commons t-shirt can be purchased at the online shop of the information platform: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.)" (2011)

OA 3

"The worn out closed access article is happy that finally someone read him. However, he wonders why the open access article is still looking fresh although he's been read way more often. (The open access t-shirt can be purchased in the online shop of the information platform: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.)" (2011)

OA 4

"The closed access article is proud to be finally "online" too. Yet due to some reason he's not been read as often as the open access article ... (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.)" (2011)

OA 5

"The closed access article is about to vanish because his publisher wants to stop his journal. Fortunately the open access article knows the road that the closed access article has to take in order to be visible in the future ... (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.)" (2011)

Web Sources

Learn More

(Mis)Leading Open Access Myths

A response to many common (and misleading) arguments against open access from BioMed Central.

Create Change Canada

An educational initiative examining new opportunities for scholars and researchers in a digital environment.

OASIS: Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook

Training and resources for anyone interested in OA initiatives, including researchers, students and librarians.

Open Access Overview

A detailed introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber, a leading voice in the OA movement.

Right to Research Coalition

Find out how students can get involved in the OA movement and efforts to make scholarly research more accessible to everyone.



Find OA Sources

OA Blogs

About OA Blogs

Blogs offer opportunities to discuss a wide variety of OA-related scholarlship, events, publishing, and researching activities happening around the world. Written by individuals, companies, academic librarians, researchers, scholars, and members of the public, these sites often explore some interesting debates in the open access movement.


About OA Software

Open Source Software can be understood as software which can be used free of charge and provides license to change the source code for the users particular needs.  All the materials on this list are available free of charge, and many allow access to the source code.  

These products are created and maintained in a public, collaborative manner whereby users can typically download, use and modify them to meet their particular needs. 

Learn More

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

A number of essays on the open source movement.

Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software

Discusses differing and similar views on free software and open source software.

General Productivity

Open Office Productivity Suite ( Mac, Windows, Linux)  

Open Office is a productivity suite that provides the functionality of Microsoft Office or Apple works, for free.

LYX ( MAC OS, Windows, Linux)  

A WYSIWYM ( What You See Is What You Mean) text editor based upon LaTex.

Major (LA)Tex Packages  

A list of the most prominent LaTex applications can be found here. Composed by the Tex Users Group. LaTex is the preferred writing a plotting application for the Math and Sciences.


Mind Mapping software.

Citation Management

These tools will help you manage your resources for your papers and presentations.  Some are NYU supported and some are not.

Zotero (NYU Supported)  
Free software that allows you to collect, organize, and cite your resources. Has many features which can be explored at
Free ( but not open) software for storing research, pdfs, and helps you find new related resources.

Free. Web based. Exports to Bibtex. Allows annotation in the references.
Software that allows you to process lists of documents for bibliographic output. Usually used in conjunction with LaTex.
This is a mac only citation to be used with Latex.
Bibdesk ( Mac OS )  

OA Software

Before downloading any Open Source product, make sure to research its reputation for performance and reliability. For help, take a look at Top Tips for Evaluating Open Source Software.

Audacity (Mac, Windows, Linux)
Free audio editing and recording software.
Avast! (Windows)
Free antivirus/anti-spyware software to protect your PC.
GIMP - The GNU Image Manipulation Program (Mac, Windows, Linux)
Image editing program that functions similar to Adobe Photoshop.
Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Free open source web browser that is modifiable to personal needs.
Open Office Productivity Suite ( Mac, Windows, Linux)
A productivity suite that provides the functionality of Microsoft Office, for free.
Find and develop open source software.
Zotero ( Mac, Windows, Linux)
Bibliographic management tool that works as an add-on for the Firefox web browser.

Web Browsers

Mozilla Firefox (Windows, Mac, Linux) 

Free and open sourced web browser. Extremely modifiable to personal needs.

K-Meleon (Windows)  

Lightweight and customizable open source and free web browser. Based on same platform as firefox.

Amaya (Windos, Mac OS, Unix)  

Web browser and editor
"Amaya started as an HTML + CSS style sheets editor. Since that time it was extended to support XML and an increasing number of XML applications such as the XHTML family, MathML, and SVG." -

Konqueror (KDE)  

Web browser and file manager for Unix environments. Built for KDE

Chrome (Windows)  

Free browser provided by Google. Based on the Chromium open source framework.


Epiphany (Linux)  

Web browser for the GNOME environment.



Screen Casting / Presentation

Cam Studio  

CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs).


Screen Capture like the other applications. Only here there is a emphasis on immediacy of use and simplicity.


Virus Protection / Security

These are free antivirus and spyware programs.

Free basic anti virus software.
Free basic anti virus and spyware protection software. Note: Windows Only
Registry Cleaner  
  This application helps you maintain your registry, removing older programs, errant files among other items. This may help improve performance. Read more about it at Lifehacker.

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