“The basic idea of Open Access is simple: Make research literature available online without price barriers and without most permission barriers.”


Peter Suber, Open Access (the book)






For several decades, the scientific community has been facing more and more disproportionate cost increases from many scholarly journals. The reasons for this so-called “serial crisis” are complex, but an essential factor is the quasi-monopoly of several publishers. Scientists, working in the environment of financially secure research institutes, often do not face the problem directly. However the visibility, re-use and impact of their scientific research suffer from the limitation of access by price-barriers. Through this lens, it is clear that open access to research results should be enforced.

There are various ways to provide online open access to research results. Some scientists already make their publications accessible on their private web pages. This is a good first step. Several additional strategies offer a remedy for restricted access:

Publishing in an Open Access Journal?

For a research publication, the most certain strategy for making work openly accessible is to publish in a peer-reviewed Open Access Journal. An increasing number of initiatives like the Public Library of Science (PLoS) or BioMed Central offer a system of charge-free access to publications and open licenses of content. Emerging costs have to be paid once by the author or, in most cases, by the author´s employer. This so-called “Gold Open Access” in return guarantees unlimited online access from anywhere to the original publication.    

For further information on publishing in an Open Access Journal, please visit Open Access Gold or contact the IST Austria-Library.

Archiving in a Repository?

Even if an article first appears in a journal or conference following the classic subscription model, there is - in most cases - still a chance to make a copy of it freely available. For this reason, different repositories for scientific works have been established over the years. Subject repositories, on the one hand, cover certain research areas, e.g. arXiv in the field of physics and mathematics. On the other hand research institutions like IST Austria collect their researchers' publications in institutional repositories. The use of one does not preclude the use of the other, rather using both increases visibility. Conventional publishers limit the republishing of works: however, preprints, postprints, working papers or technical reports are still often free of these restrictions. Even the original works can often be uploaded to a repository after a period of time, as the last submitted version. This depends on the policy of the publisher and the journal.

For further information on publishing in a repository visit Open Access Green or please contact the IST Austria-Library.