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Open Access

Open Access explained

Open access makes research outputs freely available online to read, download and use without the copyright and licensing restrictions usually in place on published works. Making outputs openly available ensures that a wider audience can read and use them, including researchers who don't have access via journal subscriptions.

Open access operates on a number of different models: ‚Äč

Green open access

Making work open by self-archiving (uploading it yourself) in an open access repository. 

  • Publish in journal of choice
  • No additional fees
  • Repository copy publicly available subject to publisher/author agreement

UNSW authors can upload research outputs to UNSW's institutional repository, UNSWorks, via the Research Outputs System (ROS).

See a quick guide on how to deposit to UNSWorks

Gold open access

Making work open by publishing in a fully open access publication outlet, such as PLOS ONE or Nature Communications.

  • Article processing charge (APC) may apply
  • Immediate public access via publisher site

Hybrid open access

Making an individual work open in an otherwise subscription-based publication outlet. 

  • Publish in journal of choice
  • Article processing charge (APC) applies and often at a higher cost than standard Gold OA
  • Immediate public access via publisher site

UNSW discourages the hybrid model of open access as fees are charged to both the author (for APCs) and the institution (for subscription).


Increased exposure for your work: Enhance the visibility and impact of your research and profile, which can be beneficial when applying for promotions and grants and seeking collaborators.

Others can apply your findings: Sharing your research more widely contributes to growth and depth within your field, which enables the possibility of new perspectives and collaborations.

Your research can influence policy: Making your work openly available means that it is more accessible to policy and decision makers. Immediate access to research can speed up the sharing and application of knowledge during times of need such as a public health crises.

The public can access your findings: Access to high quality information strengthens the knowledge of the community through education and supports informed decision-making. 

Comply with grant mandates: Major funding bodies such as the ARC and NHMRC require research outputs to be made openly accessible within 12 months from the date of publication.

Higher citation rates: Open access increases the visibility of your research, making it more likely to be viewed and cited. For literature on the OA citation advantage, see a short summary or collection of papers

Access for low and middle income countries: Many institutes and universities are unable to cover the costs of expensive journal subscriptions, leaving researchers professionally isolated and academically impoverished. Open access facilitates equal access where it may be critical to the development of solutions to health, environmental or economic problems. 


Unpaywall is a handy browser extension that finds open access copies of articles that are behind a paywall. Install it here!

Further support

Contact your Outreach Librarian.