Skip to Main Content

Open Access for Students: Home

Describes possible situations in which students may encounter Open Access materials or make their own creative works Open Access.

What does Open Access mean?

Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly, professional, and other digital materials that are available online free of charge to the reader/consumer. OA materials are frequently licensed to ease certain copyright restrictions, so that OA materials sometimes may be reused, revised, remixed, retained, or redistributed by the reader, otherwise known as the Five R’s.

There are many examples of OA materials, some of which you already may be familiar:

  • Many photographers on Flickr apply an open license called a Creative Commons License to their photos so that their photos may be reused, revised, remixed, retained, and/or redistributed by others without having to ask permission first.
  • Videos available on YouTube or Vimeo are generally publicly available, but they may not be licensed for reuse or any of the other Five R’s.
  • Another example of OA publishing is Open Educational Resources (OERs), which includes textbooks available to all students free of charge through any internet connection. The quality of OERs can meet or exceed that of commercially-available textbooks and course materials.

Neither OA nor application of a Creative Commons License removes copyright ownership and does not necessitate or imply transfer of your copyright to another party.

Many of the advantages of OA materials are obvious: not hitting a “paywall” when trying to access an article for a paper saves both time and money. Not having to spend money on a required commercial textbook can make a big difference if you encounter financial challenges during your college career.

What about your own creative works?

Throughout your college career, you may encounter opportunities to make your creations freely available through OA on various platforms available through Kent State University. Some of them may offer the option of applying a Creative Commons License.

Examples can include:

Do you want your own research or creative content to be OA, freely available to readers throughout the world with an internet connection? Here are some considerations:

  • Do you want to sell or market your creative content? If so, you may not want that content to be freely available.
  • Is the information you communicate through your creative work too personal or private, or do you think you may feel that way at some point in the future? OA content can be difficult or time-consuming to have taken down.
  • Is your project associated with a faculty member’s research, or does it involve a patent? If so, consult with the faculty member involved or your advisor on how to protect your intellectual property.
  • Some companies, organizations, and academic programs search OA content for potential recruitment purposes. If your creative content is available through OA, you may get noticed and be presented with opportunities you might not otherwise hear about.

OA and Creative Commons Licensing offer exciting opportunities for access and collaboration in a variety of fields, from creative arts to scientific research. If you have questions about this, please contact Cindy Kristof, Copyright & Scholarly Communication Librarian.