Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Access: Benefits of Open Access

Open Access (OA) refers to the online access of scholarly literature that is free to read and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.

Open Access benefits everyone

"Open Access benefits literally everyone, for the same reasons that research itself benefits literally everyone. OA performs this service by facilitating research and making the results more widely available and useful.

It benefits researchers as readers by helping them find and retrieve the information they need, and it benefits researchers as authors by helping them reach readers who can apply, cite, and build on their work.

OA benefits non-researchers by accelerating research and all the goods that depend on research, such as new medicines, useful technologies, solved problems, informed decisions, improved policies, and beautiful understanding" - Peter Suber, from the preface of his book Open Access


Benefits of Open Access

BioMed Central's authors and editors discuss the benefits of OA publishing (4 mins).

Inspired? Take the pledge!


I pledge to:

  • edit and review only for open access journals.
  • publish only in open access journals.
  • openly share my working manuscripts.
  • openly share my code, when possible.
  • openly share my data, when possible.
  • openly share my notebooks, when possible.
  • ask my professional societies to support open research.
  • speak out in support of open research.

If I am going to 'make it' in science, it has to be on terms I can live with. 

- Erin C. McKiernan

researcher and founder of the Why Open Research? project


Busting the myths around Open Access

MYTH 1 My work will be hidden away in less visible, low-prestige journals


  • Open Access papers are more likely to be read than non-OA, for the simple fact that they are more readily available and easier to access.
  • The more your paper is read, the more likely it is to be cited.  Plus, you start getting citations earlier because the work is widely available. 
  • This is true for data as well.
  • In 2016 SPARC Europe decided not to further update the Open Access Citation Advantage Service.  The list of citation advantage evidence has been growing for years.
MYTH 2 Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed


  • A journal's peer review policy has nothing to do with it's access policy.
  •  Most open access journals ARE peer-reviewed (over 98% of journals listed in the DOAJ are peer-reviewed). 
  • You should always carefully evaluate a journal to determine if it is the best outlet for your work, whether it is open access or not. 
 MYTH 3 Open Access journals are low quality/have a low impact factor


  • A journal's impact factor is not a reliable indicator of quality.  The impact factor is a flawed metric that says little to nothing about the scientific/academic quality of the work.
  • But... many OA journals publish highly cited articles and receive high impact factors. 
  • The quality of a scholarly journal is dependent on its authors, editors and referees, not its business model or access policy. 
MYTH 4  All Open Access journal charge high publication fees (APCs)


  • The majority of OA journals do not charge APCs (approx 70% of journals listed in the DOAJ do not charge APCs)
  • Publication fees charged by Open Access journals vary; many journals have waivers. Some journals (like Peer J) offer one-time low-cost membership fees.
  • Many institutions have OA publishing funds, and some funders pay for APCs.
  • There are alternative free-of-charge routes to ensuring your work is openly accessible, even if you publish in a subscription journal (see below). 
MYTH 5 Publishing in a conventional journal means you cannot make the same work Open Access


  • If you have published in a conventional, subscription journal you can achieve OA via the Green Open Access route.
  • Deposit your 'author's accepted manuscript' (or 'post-print') into Western's institutional repository ResearchDirect, and the Library will manage the embargo period on your behalf. 
MYTH 6 Open Access publishing does not offer copyright protection or credit to authors


  • When publishing in a subscription journal, the author assigns copyright to the publisher.  The author is left with no rights to use the paper beyond exceptions within copyright law. 
  • When publishing in an OA journal, the author remains the copyright owner and retains reuse rights.
  • This is achieved via Creative Commons license. Authors can choose the copyright permissions associated with their work and how it is shared and reused, and ensure it is correctly attributed. 

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)