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Open Access refers to all that educational or academic digital material, mainly coming from specialized scientific research publications with expert evaluation, that is free, immediate and without restrictions. Open Access implies that any user with Internet access can access an article or a datasets at any time free of charge, any use it according to the permissions of the established licenses linked to the open documents or datasets in question.

Open Access has benefits both for society and science. Some of these benefits are listed below:

Increases the visibility of research.

Publications have greater impact (author citations and publications increase).

Increases the visibility of institutions.

Allows permanent access.

Easy retrieval of contents.

Guarantees research results preservation.

There are mainly two routes to publish open access research results:

  • The green route, or when publications are deposited in a repository.
  • The golden route, or when publications are in open access journals.

The Interuniversity Council of Catalonia (CIC) signed in 2010 a framework document that provided guidelines to facilitate Catalan universities to approve their institutional open access policies.

Research funding organizations increasingly lay down compulsory guidelines for publishing works on open access (OA). As a result, Catalan universities presented in 2015 good practices for open access, as well as a guide with recommendations for researchers to meet the OA requirements when publishing results of the research projects within the Spanish Science Law and the EU Horizon 2020.

The Functional Commission of the Open Science Area has been agreeing on measures in favor of OA that are based on:

  • Gradually change the model from pay-to-read to pay-to-publish.
  • Contain the cost of the scientific communication system.
  • Deposit in institutional repositories scientific articles published by the academic community.
  • Promote transparency.