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Open Access

Open access publishing workflows

This workflow outlines the options to consider at each stage of your research project, to comply with open access (OA) policies and fulfil your funder mandates.

Before you start, review the 5-step model for Publishing Plan Toolkit:

  • Step 1: Think about which publishing sources are best for your research, your intended audience, and the purpose of your research.
  • Step 2: Check which shortlisted quality publishing source will best maximise your work's scholarly impact.
  • Step 3: Submit your work to the publishing outlet.
  • Step 4: Promote your work before, upon, and after publication.
  • Step 5: Track the impact of your work.
a) Choose a journal


  • the highest quality outlet suitable for your article
  • ensure it has the right audience for your content.

Research outputs and indicators

Ask your supervisor for your Academic Unit Work Plan Policy research outputs and indicators, e.g., in Q1, Q2 (HDR candidates might aim to publish in Q3 journals), noting that School of Law has a preferred list of journals and School of Business also selects journals from the ABDC Journal Quality List.

Find scholarly publishing outlets

Start your search for scholarly publishing outlets by considering publishing sources that you cite or where your colleagues and supervisor have published. Also, use the finder tools (databases) to find your publishing outlets (such as journals, book chapters, conference proceedings or trade journals),​ search in:

  • Sources (Scopus)​ if you only have a research question
  • JournalFinder (Elsevier)​ if you have a research question and an abstract
  • Journal Insights (Elsevier)​ provides extra insights into the impact, speed and reach of journals
  • InCites (Clarivate) where required

Start your search in Scopus Sources, or use Clarivate InCites (if required by your discipline) to search by publication sources. Also, consider these other finder tools and contact your School Librarian for assistance.

  • Consider if you need to filter your search to only open access content.
  • Use the quality indicators to find high-ranking sources in your field, e.g., journal metrics. Limit your search to suitable quartiles, e.g., Q1, Q2 journals. Ask your supervisor for your Academic Unit Work Plan Policy research outputs and indicators, e.g., in Q1 or Q2 (HDR candidates might instead aim to publish in Q3 journals). Note that the School of Law has a preferred list of journals, and the School of Business also selects journals from the ABDC Journal Quality List.
  • Search databases by subject area or keywords (use the field from your Field of Research (FoR) as a keyword for searching by subject or in the Title field)​

Quality check

This should result in a short list (two or three) of publishing outlets. Check the quality of these publishing outlets to determine if they are the most suitable for your research. You should then narrow this down to the one outlet most likely to maximise your research impact.

When you submit your publication to a journal, remember to:

  1. Use your ORCID iD along with your name on your publication
    • grant Crossref rights to push your publications to your ORCID profile
    • This helps ensure your publication metadata, once published, can be harvested by ResearchDirect and made available - a requirement of both ARC and NHMRC policies
  2. Ensure WSU is listed as your affiliation as per Part C: Authorship and Attribution in the Research Code of Practice
    • include funder acknowledgement as required (e.g. the ARC requires that any published research output must include acknowledgement of ARC funding and the ARC Project ID)
    • The 'Submit' step in Strategic scholarly publishing exemplifies the correct affiliation format and other authorship best practice advice.
b) Where to find a suitable journal for your research
  • If the publishing outlet you select is a fully open access journal, e.g., 'Gold' open access, you may need to pay an APC to publish your article. If you don't have funds, consider fee-free publishing options.
  • If the ARC or NHMRC funds your research, you can also meet open access mandates by depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript of your article in ResearchDirect.
  • If your paper acknowledges funding from agencies other than the ARC and NHMRC, such as Horizon 20/20 or the Wellcome Trust, they may have more restrictive open access compliance requirements.
Note: The NHMRC policy includes a preference for a CC BY licence option (Learn more about Creative Commons (CC) in the next step). There are special requirements for research resulting in a patent - refer to 4.3 of the NHMRC Open Access policy

Where to find a suitable journal for your research

To find a suitable place to publish:

  • search for your journals by publisher in the Read & Publish Agreement journal lists. Authors are not required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC), and they retain the rights to their work.

    If you do not find a suitable journal in the Read & Publish Agreement journal lists, and:
  • you have publishing funds, select the ‘Gold’ open access route.
  • you do not have publishing funds, consider searching the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for free, open access journals where you also retain the rights to your work.

    If you do not find a suitable journal in the DOAJ, consider searching for subscription (traditional) route journals with ‘Green’ open access where authors can publish without APC, but the research may be subject to a publisher embargo. IMPORTANT: Check your selected publisher's licence agreement to see if you retain the rights to all versions of your work and when the full-text versions of your work can be shared openly. You can start a conversation with the publisher using the SPARC Author Addendum if you wish to negotiate your author rights.

Where to find a suitable journal for your research

Important: If you can't identify a journal to publish in, seek further advice from your Supervisor.
c) What to do once your paper is published

To comply with OA mandates:

  1. Ensure the publication metadata is in ResearchDirect and is included in your profile
  2. If your paper was not published in a fully OA journal, deposit the Author accepted manuscript in ResearchDirect. This is the version post-peer review but without the journal or publisher layout
    • Library staff will consider publisher conditions and make this version open access when possible, taking into account embargo periods
    • For NHMRC, your article is expected to be immediately open access.
    • Even if your article, in the case of NHMRC cannot be immediately open, or for ARC open within a 12-month embargo period, you can still satisfy both the NHMRC and ARC policies. Note: you may need to supply a statement in cases where your papers, in the case of NHMRC were not able to be immediately open access, or for ARC open access within the 12-month period, and clearly articulating that the journal was the most suitable quality outlet for your publication
    • For ARC, articles will be set to automatically change to openly available at the end of the embargo period.

The section in this guide on Open access policies and mandates has more compliance information.

Other options to consider in your workflow

Share your data

Consult funder and journal or publisher policies around data sharing.

Submit the research data (WSU login required) underlying your publication to ResearchDirect to:

  • share it (either openly or via a mediated approach)
  • make it available for peer reviewers.

Both ARC and NHMRC policies refer to and support the FAIR principles, that is, that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

Cite your dataset in your publication

Cite your dataset to preserve the link between your article and the dataset. If you choose to publish your research data in ResearchDirect, a DOI will be minted for your dataset.

Promote your publications

The 'Promote' section of Strategic scholarly publishing outlines methods to showcase your work and academic profile.

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)