Open access refers to unrestricted, online access to peer reviewed and published scholarly research papers.
The open access movement emerged as an alternative to the traditional publishing model, which works on a subscription basis. That is, full-text access is only granted to those individuals who are affiliated with an institution that has elected to pay the subscription fee.
Publishing your work open access ensures that anyone with access to the internet can retrieve the full-text of your output, at any time. Research impact is measured by citation and the more accessible your work is, the more likely it is to be cited (see e.g. Gargouri et al. 2010).
Researchers are encouraged to make their publications available open access and, both within Australia and internationally, funding bodies are now mandating that research outputs are made available open access.
NHMRC/ARC open access mandates
Both of Australia's largest research funders, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), now have open access policies in place. These policies are designed to bring publicly-funded Australian research to a worldwide audience. If your research is funded by either of these bodies, these changes will have a significant impact on you and your research.
Meeting your obligations
The VU Research Repository (VURR) team can help you meet your obligations. We are experienced in interpreting publishers' copyright policies and will help determine which version of your work to make available to meet the conditions of your grant.
To seek assistance from the VURR team:
- Email the details of your work to the VURR team as soon as the paper is accepted for publication via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Let us know which grant funded the publication
- Submit details of your publication to VURR via VU Elements. For information on this process see submitting a paper.
- When depositing your publication to VURR via Elements upload the accepted manuscript version of your work. The accepted manuscript is the final draft you sent to the publisher after peer review but without the publisher's formatting and logo. The content is essentially the same as the final published version (PDF), but the published version may have typesetting, editorial or formatting changes
The accepted manuscript may be supplied to VURR as a Microsoft Word document (without tracked changes), Postscript, or PDF.
If your publisher does not allow you to deposit any version of your article, you may need to enter into a separate copyright agreement at the time of publication. For more information, contact the Copyright Officer. Please make sure that you also report the publications data to the Office for Research for the purposes of HERDC and ERA.
Once we have obtained the publication data, we will check both it and the publisher's copyright policies, and make it available on VURR. If the full-text cannot be made available according to the publisher's policies we will contact you.
Open access publishing models
There are two main models of open access publishing, 'Green' and 'Gold'.
After publication, you can make your work green open access by depositing a full-text version in an open repository such as VURR (contact email@example.com). Once it is published in an open repository, your full-text paper will be freely available on the internet to read, download, print and cite.
To ensure you can deposit a full-text version in an open repository, make sure this is in the terms of your publishing contract before signing. You may need to negotiate with the publisher.
- If you have signed your contract but don’t know the terms of the contract it may not be too late. Most publishers will allow you to deposit a version of your published paper in an open repository. Check your publisher’s self-archiving policy through SHERPA/RoMEO. Many publishers allow the author accepted version (the version after peer review or the final submitted version) or pre-print (pre-peer reviewing) to be deposited.
- Note that some publishers that allow depositing/archiving in an open repository have embargo periods delaying its open availability.
An open access journal is one where the full text of the published version is available online for no cost to the reader, i.e. there is no subscription cost.
The submitting author is often required to pay an article processing fee at the time of publication (costs range from $1500-$3000 per paper).
Check the SHERPA/RoMEO list of Publishers with Paid Options for Open Access.
Victoria University’s open access publication funds
Victoria University encourages the open access publication of research outcomes as this will lead to increased dissemination, citation and greater impact of its research output. To support this activity funds are available for an expanded number of publishers covering a large number of journals.
Victoria University has funds available to support the article processing charges from the following publishers:
- BioMed Central
- Wiley & Sons
- Taylor & Francis
Please note, only requests that meet Victoria University’s funding criteria will be supported.
BioMed Central is a Science, Technology and Medicine publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All original research articles published by BioMed Central are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication.
Victoria University has a BioMed Central membership which covers the article processing charge for VU researchers who meet the criteria to publish in their open access journals (subject to funding availability). At the time of submitting, the researcher needs to make sure they identify themselves as being from Victoria University (it is better to submit from on campus so they can recognise the IP address).
Wiley & Sons
Wiley publishes authoritative peer reviewed open access (OA) journals across many research disciplines such as biological, chemical and health sciences. They primarily focus on science disciplines but have some social sciences and humanities titles.
Victoria University has a Wiley membership which covers the article processing charge for VU researchers who meet the criteria to publish in their open access journals. When authors submit to a Wiley Open Access journal or opt for OnlineOpen they need to state their affiliation to Victoria University (it is better to submit from on campus so the IP address is recognised).
View the full list of the Wiley Open Access and OnlineOpen journals.
Taylor & Francis
Taylor & Francis journals cover a broad range of discipline areas including the humanities, social sciences, behavioral sciences, science, technology, and medicine.
Victoria University has a Taylor & Francis membership which covers the article processing charge for VU researchers who meet the criteria to publish in their open access journals. When authors submit to a manuscript to Taylor & Francis Open Access or Open Select journal they need to state their affiliation to Victoria University (it is better to submit from on campus so the IP address is recognised).
View the full list of the Taylor & Francis Open Access and Open Select journals.
PLOS (Public Library of Science)
PLOS publishes peer-reviewed Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine.
Victoria University has a PLOS membership which covers the article processing charge for VU researchers who meet the criteria to publish in their open access journals. When authors submit a manuscript to PLOS they need to state their affiliation to Victoria University (it is better to submit from on campus so the VU IP address is recognised) Check the PLOS website for instructions on how select our institutional account..
View the full list of PLOS open access journals.
Open access and journal quality
There is no specific relationship between open access and journal quality – open access journals can be among the best in their field and have high impact factors, or they can be low quality – sometimes the result of opportunistic or predatory publishing.
A good source to check for credible open access publishers is the membership list of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or you can browse a list of open access journals in your subject area at the Directory of Open Access Journals.
For more information about journal quality see the selecting a journal page.
For more information on open access publishing and your funder obligations contact the Research Librarian, Digital Repositories Coordinator or your College Librarian. For contact details see the Library research support page.