Open in action: Open Access for ACU Researchers

Published: Monday 24th October 2016

International Open Access Week 2016 will be held from 24 to 30 October.

The 2016 theme “Open in Action” encourages researchers to take concrete steps to make their own work more openly available and to encourage others to do the same.

But what is open access and how can researchers ensure that they publish in journals of a high quality whilst enabling greater discoverability of their research?

Open access is the free, immediate, online availability of research publications, coupled with rights to use these articles freely in the digital environment. When used in relation to the dissemination of research findings, the phrase ‘open access’ refers to the practice of making the information freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than leaving it hidden behind a subscription paywall.  Making your research available in this way provides access for policy makers, journalists, practitioners and researchers from institutions that do not have the benefit of a journal subscription. Open access does not mean you have to compromise academic rigor: there are options available for ACU authors to ensure your choice of journal is not limited in any way.

How can I make my research available open access?

There are two different routes for making your research available open access: self-archiving an open access version in an Institutional Repository or publishing in an open access journal.

Self-archiving in an Institutional Repository

Once your article is accepted for publication in a journal you can self-archive an open access version in ACU Research Bank, the University’s Institutional Repository. Only a small group of publishers permit their own final published version of an article to be self-archived and this version is often referred to as the ‘published PDF’. The version you deposit should be the authors-accepted version (or post-print). This is the version after peer review changes have been made but before the final copyediting is carried out by the journal.

The SherpaRomeo Database (University of Nottingham), provides authors with a summary of the self-archiving policies of publishers and individual journal titles. Currently 80% of publishers listed in SherpaRomeo permit self-archiving.  ACU authors can check the conditions to determine what their publisher will allow.

Green open access flowchart.

Figure 1. Green Open Access Callan, P. & Brown, S.CC-BY 4.0

Journal Selection

The choice of where to publish is your decision and should take into consideration the aims and scope of a journal (as compared with their article), as well as its impact factor (and/or other prestige measurements). Whether you choose to publish in a subscription journal or an open access publication, you are still able to make your work available open access via deposit of an open access version in ACU Research Bank.

How can I meet the open access requirements of my Funding Body?

While academic publishers may permit the archiving of an open access version of your article in a discipline repository or on a faculty or personal website, meeting the open access requirements of research funding bodies requires deposit in an Institutional Repository. Both the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council require publications arising out of their research grants to be deposited into an open access institutional repository within twelve months of publication. You can meet this requirement by asking yourself:

  • Is the metadata of my publication in ACU Research Bank?
  • Is the article published in an open access journal or have I paid to make my article available open access in a subscription journal?
  • If your answer to the previous question is no – deposit the post-print version of your article in ACU Research Bank.

For more information about open access: