To publish your article open access means that your article is made freely available on the Internet and it is a way to make your research more visible and widely spread. Since many journals are subscription-based and not accessible to all you lose potential readers. As the number of journals has increased as well as subscription prices, not all researchers have access to all articles. This is significantly apparent in the developing countries but is also noticeable to administrative authorities, companies and not least the public.
More and more research funding agencies require that you should make your articles, that are the result of the received funding, open access. The idea is that government-funded research should be freely available since it is financed through taxpayer's money.
The basic definition of open access in this context is that the article is peer-reviewed.
Open access is said to entail a number of impact effects of the article:
Since open access journals are not financed via subscriptions they are managed through other economic models. One of the most common is that the journal will charge an author fee, or APC (Article Processing Charge). The size of the fee varies substantially between different publishers. If you have received money from a research funder which has an open access policy the fee is covered by that. In other cases, the open-access journal is financed by a university or research organization and there are no fees involved. However, there is one type of open access that is always free and that is called Green Open Access, or parallel publishing or self-archiving. In the next section, we will take a closer look at different types of open access.
When we talk about open access there are a couple of different types that are commonly used and they are defined by their financial model and article version. As has been mentioned earlier, we are in this context talking about open access in the form of peer-reviewed articles.
Illustration of the different types of open access:
Open Access explained! [8:23]
Archambault, É., Côté, G., Struck, B., & Voorons, M. (2016). Research impact of paywalled versus open access papers. Copyright, Fair Use, Scholarly Communication, etc. 29. Retrieved from http://www.1science.com/1numbr/
Laakso, M., Welling, P., Bukvova, H., Nyman, L., Björk, B.-C., & Hedlund, T. (2011). The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLOS ONE, 6(6): e20961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020961
OA journal business models. (n.d.). In The Open Access Directory (OAD). Retrieved October 9, 2017, from http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/OA_journal_business_models