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Open access

Open access research literature is available freely online. This increases the potential readership, beyond those with research library affiliations or journal subscriptions.

The benefits of open access

  • Enhances scholarly communication through the development of networks and forums
  • Provides the opportunity for increased visibility, citations, and invitations to collaborate with other researchers
  • Provides free access, particularly to researchers in developing countries
  • Articles that are made available as open access are generally more highly cited [Source: CONZUL]

Open access models

There are three open access models:

  • Green OA (Self Archiving): authors deposit a version of already published work in an open access repository such as the RMIT Research Repository.
  • Gold OA (Publishing): authors publish in an OA journal that is fully and freely available to all readers. Some OA journals require the author to pay a publication fee.
  • Hybrid OA: authors pay to have their article made freely available online in an otherwise subscription-based journal. An increasing number of large academic publishers offer this option.

Under the Green OA and Hybrid OA models, there will be article processing charges (APC) associated with publishing an article as open access.

Presently, RMIT does not have a university-wide policy or position on the payment of APCs, so any APCs would need to be paid by the authors or their School/research centre or via funds from a research grant. The DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals can be searched to find journals that charge ACPs.


  • Cost: typically the author has to pay the cost, but if the author is a grant recipient, they may be able to incorporate anticipated publishing costs in their grant application (OA gold & OA hybrid)
  • Research funding bodies: Is it mandate to make the research data and publication available via open access?
    • For example the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) requires that any publications arising from research they have funded must be deposited in an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication.
    • Publisher: check publisher open access policies. Can a version be made available via open access? Are there publisher embargoes?

Copyright and open access

The copyright holder for published research works usually sits with either the author, or the publisher, depending on the author/publisher agreement.

The SPARC Author Addendum can be used to legally modify a publisher’s contract so that an author can retain the rights needed to both promote their research publications and achieve publishing goals. Using the addendum would allow an RMIT researcher to publish an accepted manuscript version of their publication in the RMIT Research Repository. Presently, RMIT does not have university wide policy or position on the negotiation of contracts with journals.

The Australian Open Access Support Group provides advice on the copyright implications of open access and the retention of copyright. The University’s Copyright Service can also provide further advice.

Finding open access journals and open access policies of publishers

  • DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals
    The DOAJ lists 9000+ journals. It aims to cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. It can be searched or browsed by title, subject, country, license or publication charges.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO – Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving
    Search by journal title, ISSN or publisher to check publisher policies and for a summary of permissions to archive a version of the paper in an open access repository, including embargo conditions.

For more information about open access, refer to the Open Access Publishing Library guide.


Search the SHERPA/RoMEO website for a journal title that you are considering publishing in and check if the journal’s publisher allows a version of the paper to be included in an open access repository such the RMIT Research Repository.


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