What is Open Access?
The aim of Open Access is to provide unlimited access to scientific literature, offer it free of charge, and break down barriers regarding its re-use.
The open-access movement
In October 2003 a conference gave rise to the so-called Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (external link). The Berlin Declaration has since been signed by over 400 organisations worldwide, including ETH Zürich, and is regarded as a major milestone in the open-access movement.
- Greater visibility through improved search engine ranking
- Greater citation frequency
- Shorter publication process compared to conventional publication channels
- Copyright remains with the author
For the academic community
- Unlimited global access without any technical or financial obstacles
- Good traceability of the documents and direct full-text access
- Simplified use for further research activities
- Facilitation of interdisciplinary and international collaboration
You can find many more reasons for Open Access along with information on the existing doubts and reservations on the Open Access Information Platform (external link).
In practice, two different paths have emerged to implement Open Access:
|Green path||Golden path|
The "green path" pursues the self-archiving of scientific publications on an institutional or subject-specific repository. |
ETH Zurich's institutional repository is the ETH E-Collection (external link).
The publication of an article via an open-access journal is referred to as the "golden path” of open-access publishing.|
ETH Zurich currently supports this route exclusively through its memberships of open-access publishers BioMed Central/ SpringerOpen, Copernicus and PLOS.
As a rule, it is left up to the scientific authors themselves to decide whether to make their publications freely accessible online.
An increasing number of universities, research institutes and research funders, however, explicitly request open-access publications from their members or beneficiaries.
ETH Zurich also drafted an Open-Access Policy in 2008.
You can find the open-access standards of key research funding institutions, such as the Swiss National Science Foundation or the European Commission, under research funders.
The Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (external link) (ROARMAP) provides an overview of all currently active open-access mandates of research institutions and funders.
Many advocates of Open Access hope that the power of the large scientific publishers and their pricing policy (link opens a new window) can be broken through a publication form based on Open Access.
Currently, however, no authoritative statement can be made as to whether and how Open Access can act as a catalyst for an altogether more cost-effective scientific publication model. The question as to how a cost-neutral transition towards such a model can be achieved also remains open.