scholarly communication; open access; academic authors
What is Open Access? The modern Open Access (or OA) movement has historical roots - some fairly recent and some much older. If one has a correct understanding of these historical roots, the OA movement will properly be seen as evolutionary rather than as revolutionary. In addition to this theoretical treatment of the "what is OA" question, a treatment of what John Willinsky has called the "flavors" of OA will elucidate the very practical side of the same question." What does OA mean for academic authors? Just as with the "what is OA" question, there are multiple sides to the "what does OA mean" question. One side of this question are the practicalities of how an academic author would go about OA publishing. Because OA comes in various "flavors" there are a variety of ways a scholar can publish OA materials. As is to be expected, there are both commonalities and differences to all of these flavors and within these flavors depending upon one's discipline. Another side of the "what does OA mean" question deals with the benefit academic authors can derive from OA publishing. Were there no benefits, we would not see OA publishing taking off like it is." This discussion of OA would not be complete without addressing current issues related to it, including the recent acquisition of BioMed Central by Springer (and the whole issue of the economics of OA publishing), the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, the NIH OA mandate the Act is designed to overturn, Harvard's OA mandate, and others.