The advent of online journals, digital repositories and libraries has made information accessible to 'one and all'. The innumerable databases, search engines and interfaces have made searching scientific information, quick and easy. Open Access Journals are an invaluable online resource of searching scientific information, as the readers are free to access any information, free of charge.
Before the advent of online open access journals, publishers provided very limited access to their resources. Students and researchers form economically weaker sections could not afford to pay for the subscriptions of these journals. Also, scientists from the remote areas found it difficult to access libraries. Only a limited segment of scientists with membership or subsidized subscription, had access to latest scientific information. Assimilating, evaluating and collating this information were an arduous task. Open access journals have enabled easy retrieval and archival of scientific publications.
Government funded research was made available to the public, as the authors who have received grants for their research work, need to provide free access (NIH public access policy, Wellcome trust open access policy, RCUK policy on open access) to their manuscripts. PubMed central publishes Open Access Publications that have received NIH grants. These open- access publications are no fee open access publications and provide 'free for all' scientific information.
Some scientific associations, journals and publication companies launched open access journals on a parallel track, as an alternative for those researchers and academicians who cannot access paid journal databases. These open access journals operate on a subsidized or a partial payment mode. The author of the manuscript has to pay a nominal fee for covering the publication cost of the manuscript. In special cases, waiver of fee or discount is provided to eligible candidates and their manuscript is published free of cost. These open access publications may or may not have received a grant. They are fee based open access publications.
Open access journals are governed by Creative Commons (CC BY) license policies for the copyrights of the published work. Depending upon the type of license a reader is free to access, modify, distribute or share the journal publications.