Open Access

Open access (OA) refers to:

  • scholarly work – articles, books, research data, multimedia, etc.
  • which is freely available online
  • which often has few or no restrictions on reuse

The label “open access” is used to describe processes, business models, license terms, content platforms, and information resources. The use of the label can be inconsistent and misleading. This site and the external resources referred to attempt to provide some context and information to help members of our university community understand the issues and make informed decisions about navigating their rights as authors and users of academic information.

By removing financial and legal barriers, Open Access enables teachers, scholars, and learners to find academic information and to use that information to make new discoveries, create new works, and advance human knowledge. In considering how best to support a shift to more open access, we must recognize that scholars, students, commercial publishers, university publishers, academic institutions, emerging tech companies, taxpayers, and governments all approach the opportunities afforded by the digital environment with their own set of pressures and priorities.

The concepts of Open Educational Resources, Open Data, Open Source Software, and Open Research Practices share this core idea that Open means “free to use + permission to modify, share, or reuse,” and allows more people to benefit from more information than ever before.

Open in Action at UW-Madison

Open Educational Resources support is available through the libraries in collaboration with instructional technology units across the university.

Research Data Services (RDS) is a campus-wide organization that provides the UW-Madison research community with the tools and resources to store, analyze and share data. We provide research data management consultations, training, and support in an effort to improve reproducibility across the research life cycle and to adequately describe data (metadata) for sharing, discoverability and reuse

MINDS@UW is UW-Madison’s institutional repository, providing long-term preservation and access to the creative and scholarly output of the University of Wisconsin. MINDS@UW is open access; items deposited in MINDS@UW are publicly available for download and use. UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students are welcomed to deposit research materials including  articles, monographs, technical reports, conference papers and presentations, datasets, audio, images and videos. Check out this MINDS@UW + Open Access a README Series Zine for more information and this instructional video on uploading to MINDS@UW.

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC) was formed to be the utility that digitizes, provides access to, and maintains digital projects. Since that time, the UWDCC has digitized over two million objects, developed and implemented technologies to enhance digital collections, and partnered with a variety of content providers to create illustrative and valuable digital resources.

Author Rights support is provided by the libraries to help authors take an active role in managing their copyrights and ensuring their work can be used in the ways they choose. Librarians can help authors understand the implications of publishing contracts, how to navigate open access fees, implications of associating their work with Creative Commons licenses, and more.

Author Publishing Fees for some publishers and publications are being subsidized by the libraries in order to reduce author publishing charges (APCs) for UW-Madison-affiliated authors.

OVCRGE Publishing Subvention Fund is open to tenure-track faculty of any rank to provide additional levels of support for open-access monograph publishing.

Take Action!

Interested in learning more about Open Access?  Inspired to take action to help open up access to research and scholarly information, in your own work, your discipline, or across academia and society? Here are some great places to get started:

Thanks to Matt Ruen and Grand Valley State University Libraries for the inspiration and ideas for this page. OA Week at GVSU.