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Open Access: How OPEN Is It?

An informative site about Open Access as a global initiative, about scholarly publishing reform, and about Open Access activities at and for the University of Florida.

How OPEN Is It?

Open Access is a means of disseminating scholarly research that breaks from the traditional subscription model of academic publishing. It has the
potential to greatly accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, and enrich education by reducing barriers to access. Open Access
shifts the costs of publishing so that readers, practitioners, and researchers obtain content at no cost. However, Open Access is not as simple as “articles
are free to all readers.” Open Access encompasses a range of components such as readership, reuse, copyright, posting, and machine readability. Within
these areas, publishers and funding agencies have adopted many different policies, some of which are more open and some less open. In general, the more a journal’s policies codify immediate availability and reuse with as few restrictions as possible, the more open it is.

Journals can be more open or less open, but their degree of openness is intrinsically independent from their:

  • Impact
  • Prestige
  • Quality of Peer Review
  • Peer Review Methodology
  • Sustainability
  • Effect on Tenure & Promotion
  • Article Quality

The chart below identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access" and "Closed Access."


From the "How Open Is It" guide produced by PLOS, SPARC, and OASPA. To view the whole guide, visit

The Open Access Spectrum

How Open Is It Spectrum Tool

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