Why does Open Access matter to undergrads?

OA Doge courtesy Elizabeth Lieutenant, CC by-nc-sa

If you’ve been following our posts about Open Access (OA) research this week, you may think that this is just an issue that matters to professors and librarians.

OA – the movement that’s making scholarly articles and other publications available online for free, with no restrictions – is vitally important to undergraduate researchers too. Here’s why:

  • Open Access articles are easy to obtain for your papers. You don’t have to be logged in to the university’s network, you don’t have to follow the “Find It @GSU” trail, and you don’t have to wait for an interlibrary loan request if we don’t have it: if you’re online, you can get it immediately.
  • It helps your professors teach you. OA publications give your faculty a wider variety of sources to use in class, and broaden the scope of what they can cover in your courses without running into copyright restrictions.
  • It saves the library and the university money. University library budgets are tight all over the country, and GSU’s is no exception. Journal subscriptions are expensive – very, very expensive. OA journals are available free to the library (or to anyone else in the world who wants to do research). The more journals that are available for free via open access, the more money we have for other services and research tools.
  • When you publish your work OA, you can show it off. The university publishes lots of work by undergraduates as open access in our ScholarWorks repository, from honors theses to the journal Discovery. It’s easy for these student authors to share links to their work in job applications or portfolios since anyone can access it. Sharing your work via OA makes it much more likely that others will see and appreciate it.

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About Jason Puckett

Jason Puckett is the GSU Communication Librarian. I work with undergrad Journalism and Speech students, and grad/faculty Communication researchers. I also support and teach Zotero.
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