The possibility of open access to journal literature has generated considerable discussion in the academic, publishing and library communities. This has largely centred not on the desirability of open access in principle but upon its practicability and its effect upon the traditional journal publication system. This article will examine points made in the public discussion of the two major routes to open access outlined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), author self-archiving in academic repositories and the publication of journals using new toll-free economic models. Issues both for and against open access have been raised by authors, by publishers and by librarians, and a realistic approach to the feasibility of open access is important. The conclusion reached will be that open access to journal literature is feasible through either BOAI strategy but that more investigation is needed of both the positive and the negative messages received from stakeholders with as much experimentation of different models as possible.