Open access refers to unrestricted online access to any form of creative work or scholarship. Work that is available open access is freely available online to anyone in the world with an internet connection and a web browser.
Contact your subject librarian who can arrange for someone to discuss this topic with you individually or with your department or unit. There are also excellent educational materials about open access available through the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Consortium (SPARC) website, as well as through other sites active in promoting open access, including:
Peter Suber's excellent Field Guide to Misunderstandings About OA.
An MIT Press book, The Access Principle by John Willinsky, provides in-depth analysis of its history, purpose, values, methods, and impact.
The open access version of a scholarly article is protected by the author's copyright. All of the rights and duties that exist for a traditional scholarly article publication remain in effect for the open access version, including the ability to prosecute cases of piracy or plagiarism.
We all know that professional societies want to serve their membership with high-quality information; they need to stay financially afloat to do that. Allowing you to contribute a version of your article to UT Arlington's open access repository does not have to compete with this goal. Many professional societies and publishers allow deposit of an article after an embargo period during which the published version is the only one available. The library will honor any embargo periods requested by faculty. When the embargo is lifted, the article is made freely available online.
The short answer is no, and although no official policy exists, the UT Arlington Libraries encourages all faculty to publish their scholarly work in an Open Access repository.
Yes, ResearchCommons is UTA's open access institutional repository. Created in 2007, ResearchCommons contains thousands of UTA theses and dissertations in addition to hundreds of scholarly works, including faculty articles, presentations, technical reports, books, and other forms of scholarship produced at UT Arlington.
There are different ways to make your scholarship available open access. You can . . .
Taxpayers fund universities and the faculty who do research, and open access allows the results of that research to be read and used by taxpayers, decision-makers, teachers, students, and others around the world, not just those who can afford subscriptions to the journal literature. Information itself is considered a public good; therefore, the results of the research need to be made freely available to all who seek them.
Open Access increases the visibility and impact of scholarship. Studies show that freely available articles are cited more often than those available only through subscription. Increased visibility and use of open access articles increases impact, as demonstrated by increased citations. The people who will ultimately use the results of your research are not always other researchers or scientists. They are practitioners and decision-makers, or in some cases school teachers and students. These impacts, especially impacts of practitioner-based scholarship, may be better measured by the number of times these works are downloaded than by citation studies.