Open Access

Fundamentally, open access means free – free to read and free to reuse. OA materials are not hidden behind paywalls and can be customized and redistributed legally as long as credit is given to the copyright holder. OA works are licensed to grant users the following five rights:

  1. Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

--David Wiley,


Musselman Library's Commitment to Open Access

How does open access benefit academic authors?

  • Discoverability. Open publications are indexed by search engines like Google Scholar and are easily findable on the free web.
  • Visibility and citation impact. Open works reach the widest possible audience and are cited more frequently than paywalled works.
  • Author rights. Authors of open works retain their copyright and can choose to have more control over the future of their intellectual property (e.g. new editions, sharing with colleagues).
  • Grey literature. Open access repositories like The Cupola allow scholars to share their notes, drafts, data, and other valuable scholarly products ignored by traditional publishing practices.
  • Funding compliance. Public and private funders of research are increasingly requiring grant recipients to make their research and data sets publicly accessible (see U.S. research funder requirements from MIT).


Resources for Gettysburg College faculty: