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Research Impact: Open access practices (publishing and self-archiving)

Get strategies to increase the reach of your work and measure your research impact

There are many benefits to publishing freely accessible versions of your work. There is growing evidence that open access publishing increases research impact (whether based on traditional measures such as metrics or via other methods of measuring public engagement with research). Also, many funders require research outputs to be made openly accessible within a specified period, (for example, the Australian Research Council). 

How can open access publishing increase your impact?

  • Allow potential research collaborators, partners, or audiences to access your work without being restricted by paywalls
  • Openly share your work on social media
  • Allow other researchers to reproduce and build on your work
  • Allow your work to be used freely in an educational context
  • Make your work more visible to search engines
  • Increase citation rates

There are a range of options for making research outputs available in open access. Although much of the movement has focused on journal articles, the benefits of open access can be harnessed for a diversity of outputs.


Publish in open access journals

  • Authors are often required to pay “article processing charges”
  • Use the DOAJ to check that you are publishing in a high-quality journal


Publish open access articles in subscription journals for a fee

Hybrid publishing is where subscription publications provide open access to individual articles for a fee paid by the author.


Publish open access books

  • Open access book publication is a growing field but less developed than open access journal publication.
  • It includes a range of proposed publication models but this area remains problematic.
  • Details of books published in open access can be found using the Directory of Open Access Books.
  • View a list of open access book publishers.


Support traditional publishing with self-archiving

Publication of research outputs through an open access repository is known as “self-archiving”. Some subscription-based journals and publishers allow authors to self-archive copies of their published articles, often under certain conditions. These may include that only pre-print and/or post-print versions of an article may be made available or an embargo period may apply.

Check publishers’ restrictions using SHERPA/RoMEO and read more about protecting your copyright when entering into publishing agreements.

Green and gold?

Publication in open access journals is often referred to as “gold” open access. Making outputs available through repositories is known as the “green” open access model.

Which repository should I use?

There are lots of different options available:

Institutional repositories
  • Online platforms provided by institutions for staff and students to self-archive research outputs
  • The University of Sydney’s institutional repository is Sydney eScholarship. Submissions can include book chapters, papers, non-traditional research outputs (NTROs), reports and a range of other outputs
  • Learn more about Sydney eScholarship, including points to note and how to submit
Subject repositories
  • Repositories devoted to particular subject areas have become central to some disciplines
  • Interdisciplinary repositories are also an option. Examples of these include Figshare
  • Go to the OpenDOAR to find subject-specific repositories
  • Preprint servers are a common type of subject repository that contain preprint versions of articles, sometimes also referred to as e-prints


Self-archive research data

Publishing data has many benefits for researchers and is mandated by some funding bodies and journals. Data can be published throughout the research lifecycle, providing opportunities for other researchers to validate or reuse your data while crediting you. It can also showcase and increase the visibility of your research.

Read more about publishing research data.


What can you make available in open access?

Output type Example Comment
Journal article Open Library of Humanities Journal articles are often made Open Access to increase their discoverability.

Directory of Open Access Books

This directory gives details of books that are published and are Open Access. Searches can be performed in the directory.
Data Australian Ocean Data Network This network provides open access to Australian marine and climate science data through a dedicated online portal.
Code Code Ocean The sharing of code is becoming more common. A range of disciplines–from computer science to bioinformatics–use this option.
Animation Visualising Angkor Less traditional research (in areas such as the visual arts) is being shared more frequently through open access methods, helping to promote the research.


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