Open Access is a publishing model that provides immediate, worldwide, barrier-free access to the full text of research articles without requiring a subscription to the journal in which these articles are published.
In this model, the publication costs are usually covered by the author's institution or research funds. These Open Access charges replace subscription charges and allow the publishers to make the published material freely available to all interested online readers. At the same time, authors who publish in Open Access journals retain the copyright of their article.
Other than their cost-recovery model, Open Access journals are no different from traditional subscription-based journals; they undergo the same peer-review and quality control as any other scholarly journal. Moreover, Open Access allows for maximum visibility, uptake and use of the published material.