Unrestricted, open access to scholarly scientific literature provides an opportunity for chemistry educators to go beyond the textbook, introducing students to the real work of scientists. Despite the best efforts of textbook authors to provide information about recent research results, textbooks are not a substitute for learning to use the primary literature. Chemical educators can use open access articles to develop research-related skills, to foster curiosity, and to cultivate the next generation of scientists. It is becoming increasingly important for chemical educators to teach undergraduates how online journals are changing the nature of chemical research.
Some institutions can not afford online subscription costs, and open access journals can be an important resource to provide practical experience. Open access publications eliminate the barriers to the central work of scientists providing chemistry educators (whether at well-endowed or economically limited colleges) with the key resources for enhancing student learning through current, relevant research.