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Open Access Resources

A guide to free and public online resources covering a wide range of topics.

Pratt Institute Libraries' Open Access Policy

The faculty and staff of Pratt Institute Libraries believe that Open Access to scholarship is critical for scholarly communication, the future of libraries more generally and advancing the  library’s mission of providing outstanding service and access to a resource-rich environment that facilitates critical thinking, and creative teaching and learning in the Pratt community. The Libraries pledge to support and promote open access scholarship, resources, and services. In supporting the spread of knowledge outside of strict paywalls of traditional scholarly publishing structures, the Libraries commit to collecting robust Open Access resources as described in the Electronic Resources Evaluation Policy and Collection Development Policy. By promoting resources that are free and open access, the Libraries' further their commitment to advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility, as these resources will continue to be accessible to students after graduation, as well as being decoupled from traditional academic silos.

This pledge builds upon the Libraries’ practices/programs centering access to digital and digitized scholarly resources and services such as the collection of Pratt community records in its  Archives, promotion of open educational resources, collection of theses and dissertations and future development of an institutional repository. 

To learn more about Open Access and explore free online resources  promoted by the Libraries please consult this dedicated research guide. A selection of Open Access resources are also available on the Database directory

The Libraries encourages users to recommend open access resources for inclusion in the collection. To do this please reach out to with your suggestions.

What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) resources are digital, online, and free to use. They also often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, offering both users and creators a level of access to their work otherwise impossible under strict paywall models, and promoting the spread of knowledge unimpeded by the current structure of scholarly publishing. An easy way to remember what OA is: "free availability and unrestricted use."

And just because they're free, that doesn't mean OA materials are not legitimate! While open access is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals do comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards.

If you're interested in learning more about the details of OA, check out Peter Suber's overview of Open Access.

If you want to get a sense of the leaders in the OA community and how they show that open access can thrive within the scholarly community, check out Hathi Trust and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Types of Resource Content

Not every OA resource is an academic journal. As you explore the options in this guide, keep these content definitions in mind to help narrow your field of research.

Bib Records: These resources are often laid out as surface-layer catalogs, and offer indexing and abstracts to give researchers a helpful preview of content and directions to find the actual source.

Full-text: These resources offer the complete, readable text of books, journals, magazines, and other text-based sources.

Multimedia: All the images and audio-visual materials compiled under one heading--anything other than text!

Vocabulary: Sometimes called a thesaurus, these are structured lists containing records or specific phrases that will help you figure out which key terms to use and look for in your research.

Don't Forget!

As a member of Pratt Institute, you have access to a whole host of research databases and resources in addition to the ones listed in this guide. 

For a complete alphabetized list, check out our A-Z Databases index, complete with brief summaries and links out to the resource homepages.

If you have a particular topic of research in mind, we have LibGuides sorted by subject to help you get started.