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Open Access Week Begins: So What is Open Access All About?

By Nancy Foasberg

Open Access Week: What is Open Access?

Hi! I’m the new Scholarly Communication Librarian here at Falvey Library, and one of my major responsibilities is to promote and support open access! For Open Access Week this year, I’ve planned a series of blog posts about open access, why it’s important, and what open access activities are going on here at Villanova.

What is Open Access?

Open access is the practice of making scholarly works available without price or permission barriers.

Free from price barriers means that if a book or an article is open access, you can legally read it online without paying.

Free from permission barriers means that you can distribute, reuse, or remix the materials that you find. This is often achieved by applying a Creative Commons license to the work. However, for many open access strategies, removing permission barriers is considered less important than removing price barriers.

The Open Access Movement consists of scholars, authors, librarians, publishers and others who advocate for open access materials. It’s been around for a long time. Many would date the dawn of the OA Movement from three conferences held in Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin in 2002-2003, leading to what’s known as the BBB definition of open access.

For a quick video explanation of open access, see Open Access Explained!

Benefits of Open Access

Open access allows anyone to gain access to scholarly resources, including:

  • Practitioners who may not have institutional access (for instance, doctors and nurses)
  • Faculty and students at institutions that don’t have or can’t afford a subscription, including less-well-resourced institutions and those in the Global South*
  • Independent researchers
  • Journalists and popularizers
  • Curious members of the public

This means that scholarly research can reach a broader audience and accomplish more in the world. This helps those that are looking for access, and it also helps the authors who want more recognition for their scholarly work.

A secondary benefit of open access is that it has the potential to save money. In the 1990s, serial costs began to rise more quickly than library budgets at most libraries. Open access was seen as one solution; if materials could be made freely available, libraries could be freed from some of these burdens.  This is especially appealing because the work of scholarly authors, editors, and peer-reviewers is usually considered as part of their overall employment and is not compensated by the publishers.

The next post in this series will consider the question of open access and library costs a little further.

How is Open Access Achieved?

There are many, many business models that can support open access.  The two major “routes” to open access are via the publisher (also known as “gold open access”) and via self-archiving (also known as “green open access”).

Under gold open access, the publisher makes journals (or books) freely available, rather than relying on purchases or subscriptions. While gold open access is commonly associated with author fees, the majority of gold open access publications do not charge such fees! To distinguish between publications that charge fees and those that don’t, some people refer to fee-free open access as “diamond open access.”

Under green open access, the authors, with the publishers’ permission, share their work after publication, either on their own websites or in repositories – sites for sharing scholarly works. Green open access often does not remove permission barriers, but it is important because it allows authors to share their works and still choose where they publish.

What’s Next?

Watch this space for more Open Access Week posts!  Planned posts include:

Also, please consider joining us Tuesday, October 24 at noon for a virtual workshop on Building Your Scholarly Profile!  All are welcome, but faculty and graduate students will be able to best benefit from this workshop.

*This formulation can be problematic because it positions the Global North as creating knowledge and the Global South as passively receiving it.  Suffice to say, this is not the case.  Here is a little more information on open access in the Global South.


Nancy Foasberg is Scholarly Communication Librarian at Falvey Library.





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Open Education Resource Faculty Adoption Grant

International Open Access Week is an occasion to promote and celebrate the equitable sharing of knowledge. One way Villanova, through the Affordable Materials Project(AMP), encourages knowledge sharing is by supporting faculty who adopt open educational resources (OER). The Open Educational Resource Faculty Adoption Grant has much to celebrate!

Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials, often textbooks, that are typically free to use and a have Creative Commons license permitting reuse, adaption, and sharing. This means students don’t have to pay for OER e-textbooks and faculty can customize them to meet their learning objectives. The OER Faculty Adoption Grant was established to recognize faculty for all the effort that goes into revising syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, and assessments.

Past OER Faculty Adoption Grant recipients shared insights and tips about their experiences in forums recorded in 2022 and 2021.  Students participated too and noted the use of OER offered a welcome reprieve from financial pressures and contributed to their class engagement and participation.

Past awardees, Dr. Stephanie Katz Linkmeyer and Professor Jeanne Liedtka, spearheaded departmental evaluations of OER for General Chemistry I (CHEM 1151) and OER for Corporate Responsibility and Regulation (VSB 2007) which resulted in OER adoptions.  Fall 2022 is the first semester OER will be used by all sections of these courses, resulting in significant cost savings for students.

Applications are being accepted for the OER Faculty Adoption Grant through Nov. 18, 2022. Subject librarians can assist with finding suitable OER. For eligibility requirements, review criteria, and grant requirements, click here.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Linda Hauck, MLS, MBA, is Business Librarian


Register for the Open Access Talk Today to Learn About Other OA Initiatives!

Open Access Event 2021 Flyer

It’s Open Access Week 2021! According to Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, Director of the Harvard Open Access Project, and Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, “Open Access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder.”

Falvey Memorial Library supports OA as it lowers costs for students among many other benefits. Learn more about this important initiative here.

In honor of Open Access week, you are invited to join Michael Pagano, PhD, The Robert J. and Mary Ellen Darretta Endowed Chair in Finance, Professor, Finance & Real Estate, TODAY, Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 1:30-2:15 p.m. for a virtual talk on authoring the open access textbook Liquidity, Markets & Trading in Action: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. This book will be of interest to finance, economics, and information technology faculty, and includes a TraderEx simulation and ancillary instructor materials. Dr. Pagano will explain the thought process that went into publishing OA, describe the authoring experience, and touch on the OA funding model that made it possible. A description of programs that support OA publishing at Villanova will be included.


This event is open to the Villanova community and faculty everywhere interested in open access publishing.

Other Open Access Initiatives:

Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Adoption Grant

Faculty interested in course adoptions should consider applying for the Open Educational Resources (OER) Faculty Adoption Grant. Designed to encourage faculty to select free, openly licensed textbooks as primary course materials, applications for the grant will be accepted until Saturday, Oct. 30. Faculty members will be required to adopt an OER textbook for a new/existing course taught in spring 2022. The 2021 recipients of the OER Faculty Adoption Grant, Valentina DeNardis, PhD, and Jeanne Liedtka, JD, will save students an estimated $10,000 in one semester while they experiment with new ways of teaching.

Open Access Week Interactive Tabling (Oct. 25-Oct. 29)

Villanova students are invited to stop by Falvey Memorial Library’s first floor this week (Monday, Oct. 25- Friday, Oct. 29) to participate in interactive tabling. The Affordable Materials Project Committee (AMP) is hoping to gather helpful feedback on how much students are spending on textbooks, what strategies they use to cope with expensive course materials, and feelings about costs.

Open Access Guide

This guide was initially created by Anne Walkenhorst, under the direction of Sarah Wipperman, as part of her duties as Scholarly Communications & Digital Archiving Intern in Spring 2021.

Please contact Linda Hauck, Business Librarian, for more information on AMP and open access opportunities.


headshot picture of regina duffy

Regina Duffy is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



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#TBT: Open Access Week 2014

This photo, taken by Alice Bampton, shows Nikolaus Fogle, Philosophy subject Librarian, giving a presentation entitled Author Rights: When and How Can You Archive, Share and Own Your Published Work, alongside Dina Leytes, Practice Group Chair, Intellectual Property and New Media, at Griesing Law, LLC. This presentation was one of many that Falvey Memorial Library has hosted over the years for Open Access Week.


Falvey Library Open Access Success: A Look at the Numbers

open access banner

Falvey Library is committed to support open access journal publication through the Scholarship Open Access Reserve (SOAR) Fund. This program is designed to provide financial support to Villanova faculty who are interested in publishing in high quality open access journals. Faculty may be eligible to have article processing fees incurred for publishing in open access journals paid by the library.

“On a grand scale, Open Access is important because it advances the dissemination of scholarship and knowledge, paving the way for solving problems big and small and improving and even saving lives,” says Linda Hauck, Business Librarian, Falvey Library.

The program in 2018-19 funded 9 papers and supported 17 Villanovans’ research. Departments served (below) included eight from across three of the University’s Colleges.

SOAR departments helped

The average award for Article Processing Charges (APC) ranged from $554 to $5,200, with an average of $1190. Five of those APCs were shared with other centers.

“On the local level, the revenue model for scholarly publication is perverse and from the perspective of academic libraries unsustainable. I’m really excited that one of Falvey Library’s key values is ‘openness,’ because it helps propel Falvey into advancing OA on multiple dimensions,” Hauck adds.

headshot of Shawn Proctor


Shawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.



Last Modified: October 22, 2019

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