What is Open Access (vs. Free Access)?

Great stuff! (Update to: http://archiv.twoday.net/stories/4351742


MacCallum CJ (2007) When Is Open Access Not Open Access? PLoS Biol 5(10): e285


As the original Bethesda definition makes clear [2] (Box 1), open access allows for unrestricted derivative use; free access does not. So the beauty of open-access publishing is not just that you can download and read an article for personal use. You can also redistribute it, make derivative copies of it (such as reproducing it in another language; several PLoS Biology articles have been reproduced, in whole or in part, in Greek on http://www.biology4u.gr), use it for educational purposes (e.g., [3]), or, most importantly, for purposes that we can’t yet envisage. This is because the open-access license most commonly used—the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses)—permits derivative reuse, as long as the author is correctly cited and attributed for the work. It is the most liberal of the available Creative Commons licenses (there are six), which are now applied widely to books, music, videos, etc., as well as scholarly works. It is important to note that of the six different Creative Commons licenses, only those that permit unrestricted derivative use (which may be limited to noncommercial use) truly equate with open access. […]

Does the distinction between free and open access really matter if anyone can read the article for free? Isn’t open access just about making the literature available? Well, yes and no. Free access is certainly important, but it’s only the starting point. At least of equal importance is the potential for innovation. We don’t know yet what innovation means with regards to the full text of an article—who could have predicted the impact GenBank would have or the uses that sequences are now being put to? As one colleague put it, free access is like giving a child a Lego car and telling her that she can look at it, perhaps touch it, but certainly not take it apart and make an airplane from it. The full potential of the work cannot be realized

OpenEdition schlägt Ihnen vor, diesen Beitrag wie folgt zu zitieren:
Klaus Graf (16. Oktober 2007). What is Open Access (vs. Free Access)? Archivalia. Abgerufen am 14. Juli 2024 von https://doi.org/10.58079/bzcs

Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

Ein Gedanke zu „What is Open Access (vs. Free Access)?“

  1. Good reasons for re-use There is a vivid discussion between Stevan Harnad, Peter Suber and Peter Murray-Rust about the re-use of Open Access contributions in their weblogs, see

    Ms MacCallum has shown in her article that the relevant definitions of “Open Access” clearly allow re-use and that PLoS’ CC-BY license is the most appropriate way to keep the contributions “open”.

    For more arguments see e.g.

    Although it is true that we “don’t know yet what innovation means with regards to the full text of an article” there are some good reasons we can mention already today.

    Mass media (which are falling under commercial use) can spread scientific knowledge and bring it to the citizen who needs it or are interested in it.

    Wikimedia Foundation Board Member Erik Moeller has argued convincingly at
    that CC-NC excludes the world of Wikimedia projects (e.g. Wikipedia or Wikibooks).

    MsMacCallum has mentioned the possibility to make translations (which can give a chance for developing countries).

    If derivative works are allowed data lists or the body of the article could be enriched by other scholars, e.g. in a wiki-like environment.

    For data-mining see the position of Peter Murray-Rust quoted in the weblog entry above.

    In 2004 Gass et al. have mentioned the LOCKSS projects as a reason for the re-use possibilities of the PLoS license choice at

    I would like to see PLoS collecting more such arguments in the future.

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