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Publishing Research - Research Guide

Open Access Publishing

What is Open Access Publishing?

Image result for open access imageOpen access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. Open access scholarly literature is free of charge and often carries less restrictive copyright and licensing barriers than traditionally published works, for both authors and users. Users of open access publications are free to read, download, copy, print, distribute, search, link to the full texts of these publications, or use them for any other lawful purpose.

Open access scholarly publications include both journal articles and books, as well as other text and non-text based publications.

While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA publications are peer-reviewed and maintain high publishing standards. All OA publications should be evaluated in the same manner as publications published under the traditional academic publishing model.

Open Access publishing is based on the principle of providing public access to publicly funded research and this publishing model may provide significant benefits to the community, as well as to you and your research.

Why Consider Open Acess Publishing?

  • Increased visibility - Open access could increase the visibility and impact of your research and create potential for a higher number of citations. Studies have shown that downloads and citation counts are higher for OA publications. Publishing your article in an OA publication means that more people are likely to see it, simply because more people will be able to access it. The greater visibility achieved with OA may allow you to reach potential collaborators more easily. Your research will be available to practitioners, educators, policy makers and the general public - most of whom do not have access to expensive subscriptions or academic library collections.
  • Immediacy - If speed is an important factor in your decision regarding where to publish, an OA publication may be your best choice. Publishing in any peer-reviewed publication will always entail some degree of delay from submission to acceptance, and finally to publication. Many peer-reviewed OA journals provide a rapid publication process, with significantly shorter time from acceptance to publication.
  • Funding requirements - The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) policies both require research outputs arising from ARC/NHMRC funded projects be made openly available and deposited into an open access institutional repository (such as the Murdoch University Research Portal) or in other acceptable locations.

     In September 2022, the NHMRC updated its Open Access Policy, with these important changes:

    • the allowance for a 12-month period before making a publication open access has been removed, and the NHMRC now requires NHMRC-funded research outputs to be made available immediately upon publication
    • use of open licensing is required, which means publications can be used and shared widely.
  • Costs - Both traditional and OA publications may charge a small fee at the time of submission to cover editorial and peer review-related costs. The difference is in the post-acceptance fees. Traditional publications commonly charge per page and/or per color figure. OA publications typically charge a flat processing charge that can vary greatly between publications. Under the traditional publishing model, the cost of academic subscriptions is high; academic libraries regularly review their subscriptions and if a publication is no longer of continuing value to the university, the subscription may be cancelled. 

Models of Open Access Publishing

There are three models of open access (OA) publishing:

  • Gold OA - the publication is freely available from the publisher’s website
  • Green OA - the publication is available in an open access digital research repository, such as the Murdoch University Research Portal
  • Read and Publish - the publication is freely available from the publisher's website; but in this case, an institution pays an annual subscription for access to all journal content and for its researchers to publish OA articles without paying additional article publication charges

Compare publishing models:


Model provides Traditional Gold OA Green OA Read and Publish

Immediate access?

No Yes Varies Yes
Free access for reader? No Yes Yes Yes
Access to published version? No Yes Varies - usually no Yes
No fees for author? Yes Varies Yes Yes, annual subscription is paid by the University Library
Funder requirements? Varies Yes Yes Yes


Read & Publish Agreements

The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) works continuously to negotiate Read & Publish agreements with publishers, enabling libraries to provide researchers the opportunity to publish open access free of any article processing charges.

As a member of CAUL, Murdoch University Library is pleased to offer these Agreements to researchers.

The Library currently has agreements with:

Journals included in the agreements are listed under the 'Inclusions' heading in each link provided (NB: Not all journals produced by the publishers are covered by the agreements).

There is no need to change your publishing practices - you will be recognised and notified as eligible to publish under a Read & Publish agreement via your Murdoch email address and Murdoch University affiliation. See more information under the heading 'Author eligibility' on the links provided above. 

Each year more publishers are coming onboard with Read & Publish agreements. Further information is available from CAUL. If there are any publishers or journals that you would like to see included in the agreements, then please reach out to your publisher contacts and direct them to CAUL.

Please see CAUL's key information for researchers for more information, or Ask our Librarians.

Other Agreements

Murdoch University authors may be eligible for discounts on article processing charges (APCs) with the following publishers:

  • MDPI - Murdoch University authors receive a 10% discount on the APCs for any paper published in an MDPI journal. For further details please refer to the MDPI website.

OA Journals

Gold OA model - the final peer-reviewed or published version of the journal article is freely available from publisher’s website.

Gold OA journals may be:

1. Fully OA - Articles are published in an OA journal and accessible online immediately. There are two types of fully OA journals:

  •  Paid Gold fully OA journals charge an article processing charge (APC).The APC can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars and may be paid by the author or it may be paid by a  funding grant
  •  Free Gold fully OA journals are often published by universities, societies or research centres, and do not charge fees for publication

2. Hybrid - The author pays for an article to be openly accessible within a subscription journal - publisher receives both subscriptions and OA fees

3. Delayed OA - The journal article is initially accessible only to journal subscribers. After a specified embargo period, the article can be accessed free of charge

Green OA model - the author publishes their article in the journal of their choice, and then deposits a version of the work in either an institutional or subject repository, making it freely available - the version which can be deposited is specified by the publisher. This model makes your research more discoverable, you don't have to pay article processing charges and you can still publish in the 'best' journal for your research.

OA Books

Gold OA - Usually the approach used by institution, university or library presses: The publisher charges a publication or processing charge which allows the book to be made OA. The author may pay this fee or it may be paid by a funding grant.

Hybrid model - Often used by OA book publishers: The publisher provides free access to the OA editions and offers other digital editions or additional material for sale.

Green OA - Rarely used: It allows a version of the book to be made open access, with the cost recovered from later printed editions.


Open Access Australasia - supports open access to all the outputs of scholarship in Australia and New Zealand.

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) - supports open access (OA) journal and book member publishers globally in all scientific, technical, and scholarly disciplines; membership of the Association is restricted to publishers who demonstrate ethical standards.

SPARC* - a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education.

Open Access Explained - a video by Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics).

Contributing to the Murdoch Research Portal - welcomes contributions from staff and research students of Murdoch University and its associated bodies.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - an independent online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Common Myths about Open Access...Busted! - from BioMed Central.