In the traditional scholarly publishing model, publishers charge the reader for access, either through a journal subscription, by pay-per-view or by the cost of purchasing or accessing a book or book chapter. There is a global movement to make research openly available without these traditional paywalls, allowing anyone to read scholarly works, regardless of their location or ability to pay.
Open Access (OA) publishing is...
OA publishing is not…
Publishing Power Hour 8: Open Access publishing [00:51:29] (Curtin staff and students only)
Open Access can provide significant benefits to the community, to you and your research.
1. Open access may be a requirement of your funding agreement
A significant driver behind the Open Access philosophy is public access to publicly funded research. The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) both require research outputs arising from ARC/NHMRC funded projects be made openly available within 12 months from the date of publication. Read more about funder mandates below.
2. Open access could increase the impact of your research
Increasing the visibility and exposure of your research creates potential for a higher number of citations. You can read more about OA citation advantage on the Open Access Australasia website. OA publishing also creates an opportunity to reach practitioners and policy makers who may not otherwise have access to the published scholarly research.
3. Open access will remove barriers to accessing your research
Maximising the dissemination of your research by removing cost barriers provides access to anyone with an internet connection. This can assist researchers in developing countries and ensure the public can access your findings.
4. Open access allows research institutions to showcase their research outputs
Institutions can make their research output visible earlier in the process instead of waiting for publishers to decide when this can be shared or made publicly available.
Where the author publishes a paper or book with a commercial publisher and then makes a version of the paper available in an open access digital research repository, such as Curtin espace. The process should be free of charge and ensures permanent access but may involve an embargo period as prescribed by publisher policies. Learn more from our Guide to espace.
Where the author publishes in an open access or hybrid journal and the article is freely available from publisher’s website. Some journals will publish for free but many levy an Article Processing Charge (APC) or Book Publishing charge (BPC) that can range from the equivalent of a couple of hundred dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Where the open access publisher charges neither author nor subscription fees. These journals tend to be smaller, are often based around a university press and often publish in other languages. Many are not listed on directories such as DOAJ.
Transformative/Read and Publish agreements
Where University Libraries negotiate with publishers to allow free OA publishing in subscribed journals, essentially transforming their current subscription payments into payments which support OA publishing. This does away with “double dipping” where Libraries pay a journal subscription and authors also pay for APC’s.
Read more about Curtin’s Read and Publish agreements below.
Transformative Agreements: A Primer
There can be a range of costs associated with publishing open access.
There are, however, book and journal publishers who fund their activities in other ways - below we offer you a range of tools to help you find these fee-free OA publishers.
Curtin University Library also has a number of arrangements with publishers that remove APC’s for Curtin authors as part of library subscriptions.
Funder mandates are one of the key drivers for OA publishing. European funding bodies have raised the bar significantly through Plan S, whereby all publicly funded research must be made open access as soon as it is published, without embargo. Major private funders such as The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have also joined Plan S.
Funding for Australian research and development comes from a variety of sources, such as the Australian Government, the higher education sector, state and territory governments, industry and the private non-profit sector.
National competitive research grants are underpinned by peer-review and are run principally through the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Both the ARC and the MHMRC endorse the principle that publicly-funded research should be shared openly and at the earliest possible opportunity.
Refer to the ARC Open Access Policy to view the policy details in full.
The purpose of the ARC Open Access Policy is to ensure that research outputs arising from ARC funded research are made openly accessible and the metadata for those outputs are made available to the public.
The policy applies to all research outputs arising from ARC funded research supported under ARC Grant Guidelines and Grant Agreements undertaken from 1 January 2013.
This may include the following output types:
The policy does not apply to preprints or versions of manuscripts, journal articles or conference papers that have not been refereed or peer reviewed.
Written/printed non-traditional research outputs that have undergone an external review of an equivalent standard to traditional academic peer review are acceptable for the purposes of this policy.
Open data archiving of research data arising from ARC funded research is strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. More information can be found on the Research Data Management guide.
The project leader, fellow, awardee or director must ensure:
Metadata for all research outputs arising from ARC funded research:
This metadata requirement applies in all cases, regardless of whether the research output itself can or will be made openly accessible.
Any research output arising from ARC funded research must:
Commercial social networking platforms such as ResearchGate or Academia.edu are not acceptable repositories for the purpose of the ARC Open Access Policy.
Written/printed research outputs
The following versions of a manuscript, journal article in a peer reviewed journal or refereed conference paper are suitable to be made openly accessible:
Refer to Understanding journal article versions for further information.
Non-written/printed research outputs
The ARC requires a meaningful and enduring digital representation of the work to be deposited into an institutional repository or made available through an openly accessible public digital archive.
The Creative Works Clearance Checklist for Deposit to espace is designed to prompt Curtin Researchers to consider a range of issues such as confidentially, privacy and copyright and assist in making creative works openly available through espace.
The ARC strongly encourages the application of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) to all research outputs arising from ARC Funded Research. However, the ARC will accept any of the licencing options available through Creative Commons.
Making a research output openly accessible must be consistent with any copyright or licencing arrangements in place. Author(s) are encouraged to consider the open access policy of publishers and research outlets prior to contracting/licensing with the publisher.
If the copyright or licensing agreement does not allow the research output to be made openly accessible within twelve months (12) of the publication date, it must be made openly accessible as soon as possible after that date.
Refer to the NHMRC Open Access Policy to view the policy details in full.
The aims of NHMRC Open Access Policy are to mandate the open access sharing and use of publications arising from NHMRC funded research.
The policy applies to publications reporting on original research arising from NHMRC grant funding:
While the policy does not apply to book, book chapters and other forms of research outputs, NHMRC encourages authors to make these openly accessible where possible. The policy does not apply to preprints. However, NHMRC encourages the posting of preprints on preprint servers with open licensing.
Open data archiving is encouraged, but not mandatory. NHMRC strongly encourages researchers to consider the reuse value of their data and take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC supported research. More information can be found on the Research Data Management guide.
Chief Investigators A must ensure:
Authors of publications arising from NHMRC grants awarded under Grant Opportunity Guidelines issued on or after 20 September 2022:
Metadata for publications arising from NHMRC funded research:
These metadata requirements apply in all publications, regardless of whether the research output itself can or will be made openly accessible.
Any publications arising from NHMRC grants awarded under Grant Opportunity Guidelines issued on or after 20 September 2022 must:
Regardless of whether an author chooses to make their research open access via a publisher’s website or institutional/subject repository, either the Accepted Version or the Published Version must be free to read and licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution ‘CC BY’ licence.
Any publications arising from NHMRC grants awarded prior to 20 September 2022, and published prior to 1 January 2024 must:
Commercial social networking platforms such as ResearchGate or Academia.edu are not acceptable repositories for the purpose of the NHMRC Open Access Policy.
The following versions of a journal article or conference paper are suitable to be made openly accessible:
Refer to Understanding journal article versions for further information.
The Submitted version or ‘Preprint’ is not an acceptable version under this policy.
Please note publication in ‘hybrid journals’ do not meet the intent of the NHMRC Open Access Policy, unless these journals are included as part of a formal agreement between an institution or group of institutions and a publisher (for example, a ‘read and publish’ or a transformative agreement).
Hybrid journals require the payment of an article processing charge (APC) for an individual journal article to be made open access in an otherwise subscription journal.
Creative Commons CC BY is an internationally accepted licence widely used in scholarly publishing. It removes barriers to reuse of research outputs, such as uncertainty about how information can be used or the need to seek permission, while preserving the moral rights of authors in line with established scholarly norms. It ensures proper attribution to the author(s) and allows the publication to be:
For publications about research involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, Indigenous attribution must be considered.
Creative Commons licensing requirements do not apply to any materials included within a publication that are provided by third-party copyright holders.
Publications with a CC BY licence can include third-party materials (such as images, photographs or maps) that are subject to a more restrictive licence. NHMRC considers this approach compliant with the Open Access Policy.
The costs of publications and open access are not to be included as Direct Research Costs (DRCs) in grant application budgets.
However, over the grant lifetime, funds can be used to support costs associated with publications and open access such as article processing charges, which are the result of the research activity and which are in accordance with the DRC Principles outlined in the NHMRC Direct Research Costs Guidelines.
The NHMRC Open Access Policy requires that patents resulting from NHMRC funding be made findable through listing in Source IP.
You can get more information about funder mandates from:
Funder web pages
Sherpa Juliet – a database that allows researchers to search for funders conditions for OA publication and data archiving. This is particularly useful if your project is being funded by a non-Australian body.
As the grant’s Chief Investigator/ Project Leader you are responsible for depositing the research publication in either an Open Access institutional repository (e.g. espace) or other acceptable locations (e.g. PubMed Central, publisher’s website, OA journal) within 12 months from the date of publication.
As the grant’s Chief Investigator/ Project Leader you are responsible for depositing the publication metadata in an Open Access institutional repository (e.g. espace) as soon as possible or within 3 months from the date of publication regardless of whether or not the publication itself is to be deposited in an institutional repository or made openly accessible some other way.
You are responsible for ensuring that only the Accepted or Published version of your publication is available open access.
As a co-author, you can deposit publications into your own institutional repository.
If you are the Chief Investigator/Project Leader, in cases where there may be legal or contractual reasons that limit compliance with the mandate (e.g. publications that cannot be made open access or with an embargo period extending beyond 12 months), you need to provide reasons for non-compliance to the funding body in the Final Report.
Which manuscript is required?
The ARC and NHMRC require that one of the following publication versions be made open access:
Using Elements and espace to comply with OA mandates
To comply with OA mandates:
For further information refer to the Elements Publication Manual, available via Elements Help.
Curtin University’s institutional repository is espace and this is the first port of call for Curtin authors to deposit their research output.
However different disciplines may lodge their works in discipline specific repositories, particularly in the case of non traditional research outputs.
While most repositories accept only peer reviewed “postprints” or accepted versions of papers, there is a growing number of “preprint servers” where papers can be lodged before peer review to allow time for feedback, discussion and revision prior to lodgement with a commercial publisher.
Tools for finding repositories
Publishing your work in an Open Access journal can increase the visibility and accessibility of your work. There are various business models under which OA journals operate:
The author elects to pay for an article to be made openly accessible within a subscription journal. As publishers receive both subscriptions and OA fees, this is often referred to as ‘double-dipping’.
Finding the most appropriate journals in which to to publish your research will be a process of weighing up a number of factors, both within and beyond your control.
You will need to consider:
Use the tools in the next tabs to help you make the best choice.
The following resources will help you find relevant OA journals in your area:
DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
Hosted by Lund University. It covers free full text, quality controlled and scholarly journals. You can match your abstract against journals in DOAJ by using the Open Journal Matcher.
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - Incites
Journal Citation Reports is published annually in two editions. JCR Science Edition contains data about more than 8,000 journals in science and technology. JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data about more than 2,600 journals in the social sciences
SCIMago journal ranking (SJR)
Find journals by their quartile rankings and OA availability.
Database of publisher copyright policies & self-archiving policies.
Ulrichsweb is an easy to search source of detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals (also called serials) of all types: academic and scholarly journals, e-journals, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more.
Provides access to journal information, evaluation metrics, and submission details for of academic journals in the fields of accounting, economics, management and marketing. The directories are reference tools for preparing manuscripts for publication in selected journals and they provide links to journal-specific guidelines and submission information including style, format and review processes.
For more information on searching these tools for OA content, go to Tools for finding quality journals.
The Directory of Open Access Journals search function can identify quality open access journals that do not charge article processing fees (APCs).
There are a number of different models for publishing OA books.
Large commercial publishers - these charge a Book or Chapter Processing Fee which can be as much as US$17,000 for a book or US$1,700 for a chapter. Examples include Elsevier and Springer Nature.
University presses and niche publishers. An increasing number of these types of OA publishers are moving to “diamond” open access where no fees are charged to either publish or read a book. Their costs are covered by grants, subsidies, OA consortia or via the on-demand printing of hard copy editions.
Between these two extremes there are other models such as Library consortia or membership arrangements where a group of Libraries pays a subscription to fund a set of OA books.
This is a rapidly changing area with new OA book publishing models being developed across the globe.
Use the tools in the next tab to find the right publisher for your needs.
Open Access Books Toolkit:
Guide to open access monograph publishing for arts, humanities and social science researchers [PDF, 5.66MB]
Ask an expert!
Check with colleagues and mentors about their OA book publishing experiences.
Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
On this website, browse the list of OA publishers by name or subject area. Publishers all meet certain criteria for their peer review and licensing policies. DOAB’S Certification service OPERAs, is currently operating in Beta and will move into production in 2021.This will provide additional information around peer review, licensing and transparency, rather like the DOAJ Seal.
OA Books Toolkit
A great source of current information on all aspects of open access book publishing.
Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA)
Search the OASPA membership database to find OA publishers who have been through a rigorous review process.
Open Access Australasia
Provides an overview of developments in OA book publishing, including details on university OA publishers, commercial OA publishers and an indication of possible publisher charges.
The true benefits of open publishing are only realised if works are discoverable.
Having a unique identifier such as a DOI or ISBN for OA books and book chapters will ensure that they can be discovered and uniquely distinguished. It is also important that their metadata or description is harvested by databases and search engines so they aren’t hidden in small collections away from public access.
OA books can be discovered in a number of ways:
Curtin University is committed to supporting open research, scholarship and knowledge.
Curtin’s Authorship, Peer Review and Publication of Research Outputs Policy [PDF, 177kB] and Procedures [PDF, 208kB] require that all refereed journal articles, conference papers and theses be made openly available after publication. In addition, ALL research outputs are encouraged to be made openly available, where possible.
Open access may be facilitated through:
espace – Curtin’s institutional repository.
Other repositories such as arXiv for physics, PubMed Central for biomedical and life sciences, RePEc for economics or the Social Science Research Network. For a full list of repositories you can search the OPenDOAR database.
Open access journals (gold or hybrid) – note that, with the exception of the agreements listed below, Curtin University does NOT provide funding for Article Processing Charges (APC’s). These costs must be factored in to funding applications or paid for by authors.
Curtin University Library is an active supporter of Open and FAIR practices - learn more on our Open Research webpage.
While there is no central fund to help Curtin authors cover costs associated with OA publishing, the Library is actively working to facilitate fee-free or discounted OA publishing for Curtin authors.
We can assist Curtin authors with:
Library support for Open Infrastructure
Curtin Library commits part of its budget to support open services and infrastructure, acknowledging that this support is crucial in ensuring a sustainable and equitable open ecosystem.
Currently we support various initiatives including Sherpa ROMEO, DOAJ, and Open Citations through SCOSS (the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services) as facilitated by CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians).
For more detail on any of these arrangements contact LibraryResearchSupport@curtin.edu.au.
“Read and publish” agreements with a growing number of major publishers allow Curtin authors to publish open access in the journals the Library subscribes to with no additional APC’s.
These agreements are negotiated agreement between a publisher and an institution for access to journal content. The library continues to pay a subscription, but the subscription cost also covers open access publishing by the institution’s researchers. You can read more about this on the Library blog.
The Library currently has arrangements with the following publishers (note - not all titles are included, check agreement details via links below. For example, Nature titles are excluded from the Springer-Nature Agreement):
* indicates agreement has a yearly publishing cap. If you have an article accepted after the publishing cap has been reached you will be notified that an APC is payable to publish open access. Alternatively, you can choose to publish behind the subscription paywall and self-archive the Authors Accepted Manuscript in Curtin espace after any mandatory embargo period. The publishing cap is re-set at the start of each year.