What is open access?
Open access is an internationally recognised term meaning free access to digitally published information, often scholarly material.
Open publishing for free access
Traditionally scientific results, mainly articles, have been published in journals with high subscription fees. In order to access the contents of these journals, readers must be affiliated to a university or other organisation who pays for the access.
The fundamental idea with open access is that all publicly funded research should be made available to everyone. Open access publishing means that authors publish their scientific results in ways that makes them available for everyone to read without any cost.
Sharing articles between researchers
Researchers can sometimes be allowed to share restricted articles with each other, if the publisher gives its consent. You can read more about what terms that each publisher has regarding sharing articles on the website Sherpa/Romeo. This is called "scholarly sharing" and will often happen on social media platforms such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu.