Open access is the scientific literature’s free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers. Rapidly rising costs, the transfer of scientific communication to wider platforms, the need for increased research impact and protection of digital heritage are the reasons for the emergence of open access. Open access is endorsed, and the main reasons why are the benefits such as the liberalization of scientific information by removing financial and legal obstacles, provision of the “fair use” right, increase in the scientific impact of the study by increasing its recognition and visibility, its effect on the increase of citation rates (50-300%), and enabling the researchers to view literature from a wider perspective. The benefits of open access can be briefly listed as follows:
• Provides the visibility of the intellectual output.
• It increases the effect of the research.
• Provides innovation.
• It prevents the repetition of the research and plagiarism.
• Creates an advantage in a scientific competition environment.
• Creates collaboration opportunities.
• Supports interdisciplinary research.
• Mediates the development and sharing of teaching materials.
• Facilitates the management of research activities.
Today, many universities try to create their mission and vision within the framework of the idea: “reaching perfection in the production of scientific information and enabling this information to lead in the creation of new products and services nationwide and worldwide”. For this reason, the scientific information produced by academics and researchers should be freely accessible by other colleagues within the framework of scientific ethical rules. Freedom of access to academic information is a crucial support factor for the academic community to create more qualified information and products and services based on it.
Open access has started to be accepted as the standard method for accessing publications produced from research backed by public sources. In 2012, the European Commission recommended that the European Union (EU) member countries develop their national open access policies, and that the institutions doing and supporting researches should also act in this direction, and that the developed policies should be endorsed at national and European level. Moreover, in the framework program(Horizon 2020) covering the years 2014-2020, open access has been made compulsory for researches supported by EU funds. The commercial academic publications accessed through paid subscriptions undeniably have impact on the distribution and use of scientific information. However, due to the increasing costs, only academic and researcher groups of institutions with sufficient financial backing are able to access scientific publications. This approach, which causes the scientific communication network to weaken, is an important obstacle to the production of qualified information.
Especially, it has become a legal obligation in many countries for the results of the researches conducted with public resources to be available to the public internet without financial, legal and technical barriers; and be freely read, saved, copied, printed, scanned, linked to full text, crawled for indexing , passed as data to software , and used for any other lawful purposes. There are countries that have enacted or are in the process of enactment (Spain, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Greece etc.). Institutions distributing research funds in many countries require that publications such as scientific articles, technical reports, and theses to be produced as a prerequisite for supporting research are available to everyone. This condition includes universities that use public resources of different countries (eg Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, Oxford) and private organizations (eg Wellcome Trust). In this context, national open access policies should be developed and higher education institutions should adopt policies parallel to national policies. It is equally important for the funding institutions in Turkey to adopt similar policies in order to present the results of research conducted with public resources for open access and long-term protection.
Today, access to to academic outcomes produced in Turkey is difficult, even the identification of them is a burdensome process. To eliminate this impediment, a complete version of scientific publications should be stored in an open archive, allowing for open access and long-term archiving.