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Open Access: How do I publish 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.

'Flavours' of Open Access

There are several pathways to achieving Open Access to your research: 



  • Publish in a fully Open Access journal.
  • This route may involve a charge but ensures immediate and permanent access to the work.  The publication cost, known as an APC (Article Processing Charge), is either covered by the author/s or their institution.  (See the 'Open Access Fee Support' box below to see if you are eligible to have your APC covered.)
  • Some researchers, intent on ensuring OA for their work, include anticipated APC costs in their list of funding requirements in grant applications.
  • A list of fully open access journals can be found on the DOAJ website.
  • Publish in a 'hybrid' journal. 
  • These journals are subscription journals that allow open access for individual articles on payment of a fee (APC).
  • This fee is payable by the author/s (WSU's eligibility guidelines for OA funding do not allow for publishing in hybrid journals).
  • Note: Some journal websites will refer to this option as Gold Open Access as the content is immediately available, but true Gold Open Access refers only to publication in a fully open access journal.



  • Publish in a subscription based journal with the full-text deposited into a trusted repository, ie: a publicly accessible database managed by a research institution (such as WSU's ResearchDirect.).
  • This route relies on publishers allowing an author to share an earlier version of the work, whilst the publisher maintains ownership of the final published version.  Here's how:
  • Save a copy of the 'author's accepted manuscript' (also called a 'post-print').  This is the version of the paper that has completed the peer-review process but has not yet been published (see this diagram). 
  • Submit this version to the Library via email:
  • The Library will manage the publisher's copyright embargo on your behalf.
  • At the end of the embargo period (usually between 12-24 months) this version will become OA in ResearchDirect.
  • There are no fees for the author.
  • Information on publisher copyright policies and self-archiving permissions for each journal can be found via SHERPA/RoMEO.  Contact your School LIbrarian for assistance. 

OA resources

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) is a community curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, peer-review, OA journals.

DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books) is a digital directory of peer-reviewed OA books and OA book publishers; and OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a growing repository of freely accessible academic books. 

DOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) is an authoritative directory of academic OA repositories. 

SHERPA/RoMEO provides information on publishers' conditions for OA archiving, on a journal-by-journal basis.

SHERPA/Juliet provides access to information on funders' policies and requirements on OA publication and data archiving.

How Can I Share It? contains information on publisher guidelines, and a tool that allows you to enter the DOI of an article and then advises where and how the article can be shared. 

How Open Is It? enables users to compare and contrast publications and policies to determine how 'open' a publisher and/or publication is. 

Unpaywall is a browser extension available for Chrome and Firefox that provides access to research papers for free, by harvesting OA content from legal sources (such as institutional repositories). The result is an open database of over 25 million free scholarly articles.

Open Access Fee Support

Western Sydney University provides funding to assist researchers to publish papers in open access journals. The University will pay the article processing charge (APC) for open access publication, and the Library administers these funds on behalf of the University.

You can request payment of an APC via the online form.

Note: funding is not guaranteed, so it is advisable to submit the funding request before the submission of the paper.

Approval of funding requests is based on several factors, including the availability of funds and eligibility of the paper.

You can find full details here.

Alternatively, there are quality open access journals that do not impose article processing charges (APCs) via the  DOAJ Website and can provide a listing of open access journals by using the 'filter search results option' so you can review which journal titles that do not charge fees.

Then, check where the journal ranks in its field by using tools such as:

Or, refer to the  Scimago website.

Whilst reviewing journal ranking is necessary, other considerations must be applied, such as:

  •  Audience
  • Editorial practices
  • Dissemination
  • Longevity (to ensure higher ranking)

For further advice, contact your School Librarian as they can ensure you are publishing for impact.

Open Research

Open Access to scholarly literature is now widely seen as desirable, and the movement has grown towards broadening the principles of 'openness' to encompass the whole research cycle.  

Open Research or Open Science advocates for making research more transparent, collaborative and efficient and seeks a transition towards sharing and developing knowledge through collaborative networks. 

The central theme is transparency throughout the research lifecycle, and this can manifest in a variety of ways: from providing clear accounts of the methodology used, making the data (and any derived results) available on the internet, conducting open peer-review, and collaborating and engaging with a wider audience (including the general public). 

The Open Definition sets out principles that define 'openness' in relation to data and content.  Other terms associated with this movement include:

Open Data - making raw data from research quickly available to anyone so they can interrogate it and re-use it.  (see Open Knowledge Foundation for more information, advocacy and training on global initiatives in open data) 

Open platforms, tools and services - can include open access to code and software, scientific equipment and instructions for use, and any other tools and services that promote efficiency in research. 


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