Open access (56) Open access versus free access

14 August, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

What are your thoughts on the additional benefits of true open-access research papers (where the user is free to reproduce the paper) versus free-access only (whereby the paper is freely accessible to everyone, but there are restrictions on how it can be used)?

In muyh work as HIFA coordinator, the difference between restricted-access and free-access is critical. Some HIFA members have even suggested we don't highlight papers that are restricted-access on the basis that many HIFA members will not be able to read the full text (although many members in LMICs will be able to access via Hinari).

The difference between free-access (such as much of the global health content in The Lancet) and open-access is, by contrast, minimal - at least for me. What do you think? What aspects of 're-use' of open-access papers do you take advantage of, that you wouldn't be able to with free-access?

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: