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Copyright & Fair Use: Open Access

The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty, staff, and students at CCAC with an understanding of copyright law and fair use.

What is Open Access?

Many academic institutions have joined the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) which defines "open access" as follows:

By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

In addition to benefiting consumers of scholarly information, open access also benefits scholars, increasing the visibility, influence, and potential benefit of their research. It helps redress global inequity of access to scholarship by dismantling cost barriers to research dissemination. And it returns research results more swiftly and readily to the public, who provide much of the funding for scholarly work.

Peter Suber on Open Access

Peter Suber's explanations of open access are both concise and insightful: a) Open Access Overview; and A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access. Particularly apt is his observation (from Open Access Overview) that

OA is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue (even profit), print, preservation, prestige, career-advancement, indexing, and other features and supportive services associated with conventional scholarly literature. . . . . The primary difference is that the bills are not paid by readers and hence do not function as access barriers.

To read more views, announcements etc. of Peter Suber and others consult the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP).

Why Publish OA?

Many studies show a citation advantage for open access articles. A concise description of this advantage is available from OASIS.

A full bibliography on the topic is available from OpCit.

OA Trends on Campus

Examples of common Open Access (OA) practices on college campuses include

  • faculty refereed OA journals
  • OA electronic theses and dissertations
  • digital repositories highlighting faculty and student scholarship.
In fact, faculty at some institutions have voted to mandate that their scholarly articles be OA through their digital repositories, Harvard, and MIT being among the most prominent.


Creative Commons Resources

Creative Commons logo

Selected Open Access Initiatives

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources

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