Open access refers to the idea that publicly funded research should be freely available online to the public. Governments and funding bodies globally are introducing policies that encourage or require open access to research publications resulting from research they fund, to ensure widespread dissemination of findings in order to maximise potential benefits.
Open access publishing generally refers to the types of dissemination options available for providing open access to publications. There are two distinct approaches or roads to open access (the green road and gold road).
Open access journals refers to journals which are freely accessible online. A range of publishers produce OA journals, including traditional commercial publishers, non-profit and for-profit open access publishers, universities, research centres, and learned societies, under a variety of business models. Some OA journals charge authors a fee, or article processing charge (APC), to publish their article. You can find open access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
Benefits of OA include:
Green Open Access (Green OA)
Green OA, also known as 'green open access' or 'author archiving' model, involves making approved version(s) of the paper available in an open access repository.
Gold Open Access (Gold OA)
Gold OA relates to the published version of the paper in the journal. Open access journals, hybrid open access and membership models are all publishing variations available within the gold road.
Just like any other type of scholarly publishing, selecting an appropriate open access publishing outlet (e.g., journal, conference, or book publisher) of high quality and impact is crucial for your track record as a researcher.
To make a strategic and informed publishing decision, you need to evaluate the quality, impact and reputation of the prospective open access journal/conference/publisher. The same selection and evaluation criteria and process applied to any other publisher should be applied to OA publishing outlets.
Please see the Publishing Strategy section in this guide for more information.
Funder OA policies/mandates
Increasingly, research funding bodies, such as the NHMRC and ARC, have introduced policies or mandates which require researchers to provide open access to any publications arising from their grants. This can be achieved in a variety of ways (Gold OA or Green OA) and depends on the funder and the publisher's policies on open access.
Please see the Resources box below for tools and resources you can use to find information on funders' OA policies and publishers' copyright policies regarding OA.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a free online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals, covering all scientific and scholarly subjects. It provides information on title, ISSN, publisher, journal licensing types, publication charges (if applicable), language, and more. You can search DOAJ by journal title or subject area.
Note: To be included in the DOAJ, journals must be freely accessible to the public (open access journals), and must exercise peer-review or editorial quality control. Selection criteria and processes are in place by the DOAJ editorial board to control the quality of journals it indexes.
SHERPA/JULIET is a free database, developed by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and Jisc, which provides information on research funders' open access policies. Most funders provide clear statement regarding OA policies on their website, e.g., NHMRC and ARC.
SHERPA/RoMEO, the sister product of SHERPA/JULIET, offers information on publishers' copyright policies regarding OA.
Creative Commons Australia provides comprehensive information on Creative Commons licenses, including the types of CC licenses, instructions on how to use CC licenses, and finding CC licensed materials.
Cabell's Directories is a directory of academic journals providing publishing information of interest to researchers seeking a journal in which to publish.
The Library OA wiki provides further information regarding open access for funding mandates, including an overview of ARC and NHMRC open access policies.