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…
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.
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.
ARC and NHMRC Mandates
The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) both require that research outputs arising from ARC/NHMRC funded projects be made openly available within 12 months from the date of publication.
The ARC requires all research outputs created since 1 January 2013 be made publicly available at the earliest possible opportunity. Embargos of up to 12 months are permitted but metadata for all research outputs must be made available immediately.
NHMRC requires peer reviewed journal articles from 1 July 2012, and peer-reviewed conference papers from 15 January 2018, be made open publicly but does encourage authors of other forms of output to make them openly available if possible.
Open data archiving is encouraged by both these funders, but not mandatory. More information can be found on the Research Data Management guide.
Research outputs can be deposited in either an Open Access institutional repository or in other acceptable locations e.g. publisher’s website (if the published version of the article is Open Access with a Creative Commons licence) or public digital archives, such as PubMed Central, or in an OA journal.
Metadata must also be made publicly available through an institutional repository within 3 months from the date of publication, regardless of whether the research output is made openly accessible or not.
From the 15 January 2018, NHMRC funded research requires patents generated from public funding be listed in Source IP when the full application has been filed.
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:
Contribute to espace
For further information regarding depositing research output into Curtin’s institutional repository refer to the Library’s Guide to espace.
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.
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.
OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit:
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: