Open Access is a movement, born within the academic world, that promotes free access to results from scientific research and favours the sharing and growth of scientific knowledge. The aim is to ensure maximum visibility and use of documents, via open access, starting with the basic idea that the results of publicly funded research must be available to everyone.
Open access literature does not mean without expense. Open access to research results and scientific culture is not free of charge, there are costs to be met, to make research available. Some journals are entirely open access: each article is available, without any restriction. Other journals are hybrid, in the sense that they are magazines with traditional subscriptions, but offer authors the possibility of paying an amount to make their article freely accessible to anyone in the world. The other articles in the journal are only accessible via subscription.
Some publishers offer all their titles under a kind of open access policy, others have different policies for different titles. Other research funding organisations have Open Access policies. To monitor these policies, see:
- SHERPA's Juliet database of funder policies;
- BioMed Central's table for funding policies
- the ROARMAP list of the largest funders and university policies
Many supporters of OA promote free access as they are convinced that the results of publicly-funded research must be available to all; as citizens have paid for this research, they should be able to access it at no additional cost.
OA has been approved of by several forces. The web offers new publication methods: it makes circulating research easier, broader, faster and often less expensive. The web offers new means and methods for sharing and using research and for supporting teaching, creating a demand for an access model that allows professors and universities to take full advantage of these new media and methods, or new openings for research using institutional or subject repositories. By exploiting the potential offered by the internet, the articles are made accessible free of charge to users, without the restrictions and barriers foreseen by traditional licences. Diffusion of information guarantees a real impact: the easier it is to download an article, the more it is read and the more it is cited. This favours the sharing of knowledge and therefore a faster advance of knowledge, without barriers, worldwide. Lastly many believe that open access will contribute to reducing the problems of high prices and restrictive conditions of use faced by universities who purchase licences and traditional journals in digital format.
Advantages for researchers: greater visibility for research work filed in institutional archives and published in Open Access journals, which translates into greater visibility, more citations (up to 600% depending on the subject), immediate diffusion of research results, greater impact for the author.
Advantages for the institution: an international window for the production of its own professors/researchers and possible economies of scale on subscription costs.
Advantages for the scientific community: research results have greater visibility (greater dissemination), are seen earlier (thanks to self-archiving, there is no need to wait for material to be printed); thanks to greater dissemination, there is a greater impact and higher circulation of ideas; knowledge benefits from an overall increased growth and diffusion, which is also much faster; the free circulation of research results and data sets contributes to reducing the cultural divide.
The Politecnico di Milano promotes open access to scientific literature in compliance with what is established by its own statute and as a signatory of the Messina Declaration. To do this, it has an Open Access policy that applies the EU Commission Recommendations and national law 7 ottobre 2013, n. 112.
The university policy, that has been active since 1st October 2014, states that professors, researchers, and collaborators of the Politecnico di Milano feed the university's institutional open access archive by self-archiving their scientific products in it. An institutional archive is a platform where members of the academic community file electronic documents, the result of university teaching and research activity. The institutional archive can be queried via search engines on the web, and spread and enhances the value of the university's scientific productions. Re-Public@polimi is the name of the Politecnico di Milano's institutional repository, that collects electronic documents coming from professors', researchers' and collaborators' work at the university.
Versions, copyright, IRIS, catalogue
There are two paths for ensuring open access:
- GREEN ROAD: self-archiving in archives open for public consultation that gather together the research work carried out by the authors, in accordance with publishing policies
- GOLD ROAD: publication in open access magazines, that guarantee peer review, that are free for the user.
The rapid diffusion of University policies in favour of open access and diffusion of institutional archives has brought most publishers to allow the publication of articles published in institutional repositories (Green OA).
To know more about foreign publishers' policies on auto-self-archiving in institutional repositories or on personal websites, please refer to the website Sherpa/RoMEO
- Green - allows the self-archiving of pre-print and post-prints
- Blue - allows the self-archiving of post-prints
- Yellow - allows the self-archiving of pre-prints
- White- does not allow any self-archiving
It is in the author's interest to know his own rights.
he recommendation is to always read the entire publishing contract carefully to see what the terms are about auto-self-archiving and add a clause (addendum) that asks to maintain some exclusive rights for oneself (including, for example, the one regarding self-archiving in open institutional archives).
A University scientific literature open access work group has been established with archiving and intellectual property management technical tasks. The group can be contacted at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Websites of interest:
- DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
Updated list of OA Journals
- Open Access Journals with IF
List of journals with Impact Factor
- OpenDOAR: Directory of Open Access Repositories
List of institutional and subject repositories
- ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories)
Database that indexes the creation, location and growth of open access institutional archives and their content
Website for Italian Electronic Scientific Literature in Open Archives and Institutional Repositories. This is the national platform for centralised access to the scientific literature deposited in Italian open archives, established and managed by universities and research bodies.
- Wiki on Open Access in Italy
Website on Open Access that registers news and information about the national and international movement
- CRUI guidelines
Guidelines issued by CRUI (Conference of Italian University Rectors) and developed by the national work group on Open Access
Materials and useful references for publication and/or auto-self-archiving in open access:
- list of publishers taken from Sherpa/RoMEO (currently being drawn up))
- Beall's List - List of unreliable OA publishers
- SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
Association of university and research libraries that cooperate to create a more open scientific communication system
- Addendum SPARC
- Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine - Software that allows personalisation of own Addendum
- Communication Letter to publishers
- Exemption letter from Politecnico Open Access Policy
- SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
- Inserting attachments in IRIS RE.PUBLIC@POLIMI (italian version)
Material from conferences and seminars
This section contains the stored materials that were presented during seminars organised by the Politecnico di Milano about open access and the materials produced during national conferences on OA.