University of Canberra
Skip to Main Content

Open Access Toolkit

How Can I Publish Open Access?

There are two main options:

Gold Open Access Publishing

This is when the journal you publish in makes digital content freely available immediately upon publication.

This can be done in two ways:

  • Full OA which means that all of its articles are available online, or
  • Hybrid OA which means that some articles are made available while others are not

Open access journals generally publish your work under a copyright licence, rather than an assignment of copyright.

This is the difference between you retaining copyright ownership of your work and the journal owning your publication.


Green Open Access Publishing

This is when you continue to publish in traditional subscription-based journals, however the publisher allows you to deposit (self-archive) a digital copy of the article manuscript online.

You will usually be allowed to deposit the author’s final manuscript in either a subject-based or institutional repository (ie. UC’s Research Repository), or by posting the article to your personal website.

Many authors prefer the green option because it allows you to continue publishing with well-established journals in your field.

Further Reading:

Open Access Publishers & Directories

Academic publishing explained (video)


Predatory Publishers

There are many reputable publishers who produce open access journals including PLoS, Hindawi and BioMed Central. However the onset of open access publishing has also seen an increase in vanity publishers (those who charge an author fee but without peer review) and these can be difficult to distinguish from legitimate publishers. It is important to assess whether the publisher is reputable as well as the cost to publish.

Jeffrey Beall: Criteria for determining predatory open-access publishers (2012)

Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences This is the summary of a full report prepared by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). IAP is a global network of over 140 science, engineering and medical academies that work together to support the role of science in seeking solutions to the world’s most challenging problems. In 2020, IAP launched a two-year study on Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences

As a potential author, be wary of publishers who:

  • promise an unusually short time period between article submission and publication
  • aggressively pursue authors rather than the other way around (particularly true if a publisher pursues authors haphazardly outside of their normal field/discipline)
  • launch a number of new journals “overnight” (very many new titles with just a few articles published each)
  • seemingly exist to promote a product(s) or lifestyle or who appear to be sponsored by a commercial entity

 As a researcher, be wary of:

  • publications whose articles contain typos or other noticeable errors
  • publications whose article citations are faulty or incomplete
  • publications whose articles are sensationalistic or make sweeping or groundbreaking claims
  • publications whose articles indicate a very short time span between submission, acceptance and publication dates (one example is an article that was: “Received January 17, 2012; Accepted January 19, 2012; Published January 23, 2012″)
  • publications for which author credentials for existing articles are not clear or are lacking
  • publications whose research articles lack full disclosure of author affiliation or funding agency
  • publications for which data is lacking and/or doesn’t seem to support research article conclusions
  • publications of research articles whose authors concede no study shortcomings or limitations
  • bad writing or poor grasp of English

Having said this, not all of the above are necessarily signs of untrustworthy publishing practices.  The hard sciences, in particular, have had a long tradition of rapid scholarly communications and in some disciplines multiple-authored research put out very rapidly under peer review is the norm.  For instance, see Nature Communications.