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Open Access

UNSW Open Access Policy

UNSW is a research and teaching-intensive university committed to achieving global impact. Open dissemination of Research Outputs produced at UNSW, online and worldwide is fundamental to our role as a global leader in accelerating discovery, innovation, engagement and impact, and education.

The UNSW Open Access Policy requires all UNSW researchers to make their research publications openly available under a CC-BY license by deposit to UNSWorks upon publication. This policy became effective on 1 December 2021 and supersedes the previous policy implemented on 1 June 2017.

This is mandatory for the following published Research Outputs:

  • peer-reviewed journal articles
  • peer-reviewed conference papers that meet the definition of research
  • research reports commissioned by an external body that meet the definition of research
  • Higher Degree Research theses (can be embargoed for up to 24 months).

 UNSW researchers are also encouraged, wherever possible, to make other Research Outputs including books and book chapters, non-traditional Research Outputs, published research data, code, software, and images available in UNSWorks.

Key questions about this policy

This policy applies to all researchers undertaking research at UNSW as defined in the UNSW Research Code of Conduct. This includes UNSW academic staff, professional staff undertaking research, conjoint appointments and HDR candidates.

The ownership of Intellectual Property rights, including copyright, in Research Outputs is governed by the UNSW Intellectual Property Policy, and by the general law (including statute law, and contracts). As per the UNSW Intellectual Property Policy the University asserts both:

  • legal and beneficial ownership over Research Outputs created by academic, professional, technical or administrative Staff and Affiliates. (Section 2.1)
  • a non-exclusive licence to Research Outputs including books and journal articles, for the University’s teaching and research purposes. (Section 2.5)

For all outputs that fall within the scope of the UNSW Intellectual Property policy, UNSW researchers must retain all necessary rights to enable immediate deposit of either the Version of Record or Author Accepted Manuscript their Research output to UNSWorks with a Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY licence.

Higher Degree Research candidates own the copyright and IP in their theses. The University does not assert ownership of IP created by students unless under specific circumstances outlined in the UNSW Intellectual Property Policy. (Section 2.2)

Higher Degree Research theses submitted via the Graduate Research School are subject to the Open access policy. The UNSW thesis examination procedure requires that all theses produced under a Higher Degree Research program at UNSW should be publicly available. At the completion of the examination and prior to graduation, every candidate who has satisfied requirements for the award of the degree will submit two digital copies (master and public) for deposit and preservation in the University Library. Candidates can opt to have their thesis placed under embargo for 2 years or less, in which case the thesis will be released by the library after this period has elapsed. (Section 5.1)

If publications or manuscripts are included in the thesis, The candidate must obtain permission to reproduce copyright material where the right to reproduce has not already been granted as part of the publication process by the copyright holder. If copyright on third-party material has been assigned to a publisher, permission must be sought, in advance of submission, to reproduce the work in the thesis. (Section 5.2).

In some circumstances immediate public access to the thesis may not be desirable. This could be where your research leads to a patent, is commercial-in-confidence, or is legally or culturally sensitive. An embargo of up to 24 months is available and candidates can opt-in when they deposit the final digital copies of the thesis to the Library.

If an embargo of more than 24 month is required, then permission will need to be sought at least 6 months before submitting the thesis for examination from the Graduate Research School. A Restricted Access form for this request is available on the GRS website. These requests must provide strong evidence for why an extended embargo is required.

Increasingly journal publishers do allow authors to make a version of their work Open Access via an institutional repository however this is not universal. When submitting your Research Output to a publisher, read the information listed in their author and open access pages carefully. Often they will have policies about author self-archiving and or authors making a copy of their work available via an institutional repository. You can also look a journal up via Sherpa Romeo.

If the publisher does not allow you to make the Version of Record immediately openly accessible with a CC-BY licence UNSW authors must negotiate to retain the right deposit their Author Accepted Manuscript in UNSWorks. The simplest way to do this is to include rights retention language in the funding acknowledgement section of the manuscript and any cover letter/note when you submit your paper.

 If your journal does not allow your work to be shared in an institutional repository and you haven’t retained your rights, you will not be able to upload your work in UNSWorks.  For more information see the author rights retention page or contact

A Creative Commons licence allows you to choose how your work can be reused. Further information on these licenses can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Unless otherwise stated, material deposited in UNSWorks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence International 4.0 (CC BY). This licence lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material, even commercially, as long as they credit the author of the original material. This type of licence allows for the maximum dissemination and use of the material.

The use of a Creative Commons licence provides a standardised way to communicate how works can be used without infringing copyright. Licensing a version of your work using a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence permits reuse, adaptation (including reuse of tables and charts, and translation) by yourself and others in teaching, learning, and research. Many major funders require or prefer immediate open access to research under a CC-BY licence.

For published outputs containing third-party copyright material, you will need to clearly indicate within the manuscript the terms under which the material is released and state that the CC BY reuse licence is not applicable to this material.

When authors deposit research outputs, including theses, into UNSWorks, they warrant that they have the authority to do so. Authors also warrant that they have removed any third-party materials in their works for which they have not received an appropriate licence to use. UNSW neither endorses nor accepts the claims of depositors regarding copyright, licences, or suitability of the content of Works for publication.

If a publisher or author believes that that their copyright has been infringed by content in UNSWorks, then the Copyright Takedown Request form can be used to contact UNSW. The work in question will be temporarily withdrawn from public view within 3 working days whilst the alleged infringement is being investigated.

The UNSW Open Access Policy aligns with the movement of funders globally towards immediate public access to research and supports Australian Government open access mandates to improve access to publicly funded scholarly information. This is a rapidly evolving environment, and researchers are advised to check their funders' terms closely to ensure compliance.

Yes. If you are listed as an author on the paper and you are a UNSW researcher then the policy applies. If there are more than one UNSW authors on the paper discuss with your co- authors who will deposit the output to UNSWorks. For further information see the Research Authorship, Publication and Dissemination Policy.

Yes. We encourage you to discuss the requirements of this policy with external co-authors at an early stage in your collaboration. For further information see the Research Authorship, Publication and Dissemination Policy.

No. The policy only applies to published research outputs. Research outputs that contain confidential and sensitive material or material that is commercial in confidence is out of scope.

Yes. Open access publications should still be deposited into UNSWorks for the purposes of preservation and further dissemination.

Use the Sherpa Romeo database to search by journal title. If Sherpa Romeo doesn't have information about a particular journal, check the following documents:

  • publisher/author agreement
  • author information pack
  • journal and/or publisher website