1.2 Need of Open Access

It can be said that OA came into existence as a logical answer to inaccessible information as a sort of bridge to join the divide between haves and have nots. As more and more academicians found that information was increasingly getting unaffordable, what it meant was that in time only the elite of communities engaged in academics and research could afford access to information. OA helps overcome the divide in information access. Another fact is that OA (as known today) came into the picture predominantly due to the internet. The easy mode of access in a distributed environment that the Internet provided soon led to new age users who quickly transformed from users of traditional libraries and journals to online information users. They soon became aware of what they could access and what they were denied access to. In the academic and research communities soon the questions delving into why access was denied and by whom were raised. The answers offered were unsatisfactory to academicians who themselves were contributing majority content. The other fact is that of attribution, as well as income or profits from an information resource. Copyright is more often quoted as a law that prohibitsfree access to information rather than its true intent of copyright which is to protect the rights of creators or authors over their works. This misinterpretation led to middlemen such as journal publishers who somehow over a period of time introduced the practice of absolute transfer of rights from authors to themselves. In effect the practice took away the right of the author on his/her work(s) to further disseminate it or the right of other users to use it, enhance it, or transform it in anyway. When we consider the publication cycle of a resource, it starts with the intellect of an author or a research team who work and then write regarding their work and need to publish it. The channel they find is that of journal publication as it the most accepted form of disseminating scholarly information. Journals especially ranked journals are the yardsticks to measure performance of scientists and academics. This being the case the authors often are more enthusiastic in getting their papers accepted than pausing to judge whether their work will be accessible easily to the academic colleagues in future when they transfer their rights to the journal publishers. This situation spirals off into a vicious cycle where academics continue to contribute content in journals and continue to be denied access by publishers to other such content they may need to refer. It is due to such factors that OA gained momentum. Scholars and supporters of OA started to spread awareness and question the unfair practices that denied access to information resources. Over the years individual efforts merged into institutional and country wide efforts in several regions of the world that together is referred to as the OA Movement.

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 April 2021, 10:54 AM