Open access, OA, means that research results and publications are made freely accessible online.
Publishing open access is supported by universities, research funders, organisations and publishers all over the world. The board of Lund University decided in November 2005 [pdf in Swedish], that scholarly publications, should, when possible, be disseminated in journals that are freely accessible to the reader.
Increasingly, research funders require that publicly funded research is free and openly accessible. There is often a policy in place that stipulates how (gold, green or hybrid), and when (immediately or after embargo period), the access may take effect. In many cases, costs for publication fees are covered by the funder, the costs are often included in the budget in the initial funding application.