What is Open Access (OA)?

Open Access (OA) is an international movement seeking to grant free and open online access to academic information, including publications and data.

This means access without financial, legal, or technical barriers so that it can be read, downloaded, copied, distributed, printed, searched, or used in education or in any other way.

As opposed to the traditional subscription model (in which readers have access to scholarly information by paying a subscription usually via libraries), OA is a publishing model that makes research information available to readers free of charge.

Existing OA strategies

  •  The green road – self archiving – describes the simultaneous or subsequent archiving of digital publications on an institutional or disciplinary OA document server.
  • The golden road – publishing – describes the first publication of scientific articles in OA journals. There are more than 10.000 OA journals listed in the DOAJ and several thousands of OA journals are already covered by Web of Science and Scopus. These articles go through a quality control process in the form of a peer review. Most OA publishers charge publication fees which the author (author fees) or their institution (institutional fees) pays. There is a fund in place to support researchers at Eawag, Empa, PSI and WSL and also from various funders, e.g. at SNSF.

For further information and links check the Lib4RI webpage for OA here (source) or contact Lib4RI for questions/help via


OA policy at Empa

Empa has signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative 2002:

By «Open Access» to literature…

… “we mean its 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 other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”

Learn more about the OA policy of Empa here.