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CEU Library, Central European University

Open Access Primer

What is Open Access?

SPARC open access fact sheet

Research and the public good

Open access is a convergence of the belief by scholars that distributing their scholarly works as widely as possible is in the best interest for their research and the public good.

Why open access?

  • It provides more equitable access around the globe not just for the privileged who can afford the costs, but to everyone.
  • It challenges the practices of institutions buying back publications that their own authors have written.
  • It challenges the practice of limiting the use of research results supported by public funds.
  • It challenges the practice of publishers holding copyright to author's works such that authors must seek permission to reuse all or part of their own content.
  • It opposes inflated publisher pricing such that library budgets can no longer afford to subscribe to content that their own scholars produce.


The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI/February 2002), Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (June 2003), and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (October 2003) focused the OA movement at a critical juncture.

BOAI is often called the catalyst for bringing independent small movements around the globe together as one community and putting a name to the movement.

Some barriers

  • Open access research outputs are not free to produce, publish, disseminate, or preserve since all have costs associated with them.
  • Nor does open access mean universal access, as there are language, technological and censorship barriers to overcome in many parts of the world.  

Short explainer videos

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