What is open access publishing? According to the Budapest Open Access Initiative open access means making literature:
"free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
Essentially the main goal is to make research literature freely available to allow the rapid spread of the knowledge gained.
To acknowledge this effort the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) organizes Open Access Week to draw attention to open access policies and how they benefit research, researchers, and the spread of knowledge.
Here are some ideas to promote open access efforts by faculty/researchers, administrators, students, and librarians.
Budapest Open Access Initiative. (2012). Budapest Open Access Initiative: frequently asked questions Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm.