Without a doubt, access to research is a critical issue for libraries. As has been demonstrated elsewhere in this Toolkit, the economic system upon which traditional dissemination of scholarship is based is unsustainable. Academic libraries have struggled through what has been labeled the "serials crisis" in an effort to provide access to scholarly resources needed for the research, teaching and learning activities of faculty, researchers and students. However, access to research is more than just a dollars and cents issue for libraries. Libraries of all types have long been soldiers in the fight for information justice and intellectual freedom, providing a place for people of all walks of life to gather with one another, to seek out knowledge, and to become better informed citizens. Libraries also frequently take a place at the forefront of adopting and innovating digital technologies - the same technologies that have made wider access to scholarship an attainable reality. Thus, being an actor and innovator in endeavors that promote open access to research by leveraging online and digital technology naturally further's the library's tradition of removing barriers to information. The video below shows why access to research matters to others as well -- to people that libraries serve and help every day.
Access to research is frequently discussed in terms of open access; this includes open access publishing, open data, open educational resources, and publicly mandated access to scientific research. In this section of the Toolkit, the focus will primarily be on open access publishing and public access mandates.Resources on open data can be found in the section on "Research Data Management" and Open Educational Resources is treated under "Related Topics."