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Open Access Toolkit

What Open Access Means

Open Access (OA) is the idea that publically funded research should make its outcomes accessible for the public to see.

OA journals are often peer-reviewed.

They are published the same way as standard journals.

The costs of producing and distributing are shifted from those who want to access the material, to those who produce the material. Often this is paid for from grant funds or the institution may provide an open access repository.



  • More exposure for your work

  • Practitioners can apply your findings

  • Your research can influence policy

  • Complies with grant rules

  • Researchers in developing countries can see your work

                                                           (CC-BY Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown)


OA has three main components:

  1. Author(s) retain copyright
  2. Author(s) grant permission for others to access and distribute the work
  3. The work is made available for free online

What's In It For You?

Open Access makes research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall.

Open Access exposes your research to a wider audience and makes it easier for other researchers to find and cite it.

In the real world

There are thousands of OA journals, but some journals and publishers are more open than others; some are hybrid offering select articles as OA, while others are less open again. This spectrum of publishing options is charted in  'HowOpenIsIt'.

Signing a copyright transfer agreement with a publisher does not necessarily stop an author from making their work open access as there are two different approaches to Open Access Publishing, known as "Gold" and "Green" publishing. The Open Access Publishing page in this guide has more information on these.

Open Access Explained (video)

Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) Blog

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Peter Suber On Open Access

Introductory writings about open access by advocate Peter Suber