The near-simultaneous rise of interest in open source and open access has made these concepts ripe for confusion. Though open source and open access are two distinctly different things, their ultimate purpose is related. The main principle of open-source software development is peer production by sharing source code. Open access refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access and many restrictions on use, i.e. copyrights, etc.
Open is a very relative term and any license that can be called as such is going to be more open than traditional copyright, which prevents nearly all copying. But where the open source movement was a grassroots movement spearheaded by developers for developers, the open access movement is also being largely driven by governments and institutions wanting to ensure that their research dollars do the most good.
Melody K. Smith
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