Open access

This guide provides information about open access publishing and sharing research data.

Open access

Open access (OA) or Open Scholarship refers to publishing research and data to provide unrestricted access in commercial and non-commercial sources. Material is shared through Creative Commons licences, often the Attribution CC-BY licence allowing the reuse and distribution of material, and requiring attribution to the original creator. Open access includes journal articles, books, chapters, artwork and images, data and software code. Open data enables the sharing and reuse of research data. 

On 14 February 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), a collection of research societies, universities and publishers, launched a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to scholarly journal literature through self-archiving, open access journals and other strategies.

The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, June 2003 specified how to make OA material available online, with public reuse rights. The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledges in the Sciences and Humanities, October 2003 promoted the Internet to develop a global open research knowledge base. 

Many universities are adopting open access policies. In NZ the University of Waikato and Lincoln University encourage green, self-archiving of scholarly research publications.

Advantages of open access publishing

OA publications are peer-reviewed, with editorial standards. Some open access works have significant journal impact factors, and receive high levels of citations. Other benefits include:

  • reducing cost barriers to research
  • expediting wider sharing of research and related data
  • faster publication and increased visibility of research
  • public access to publicly funded research
  • can increase citations, both scholarly and alternative

A selection of delegates at CISPC 2019, held in London, offer their opinions on what open research means to them and their institutions. 5:03 min video.

APCs - sad but true

Article Processing Charges or APCs have become the dominant funding model for Open Access (OA) publishing, especially amongst commercial publishers. In this model, the author (or their surrogate) pays the publisher a fee to get their article published OA. APCs vary in amount, from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, and the most prestigious journals will frequently be the most expensive. Hybrid journals tend to have more expensive APCs than pure OA journals, and some pure OA journals do not charge an APC, rather they will be funded by individual institutions or membership models.

Some Universities have a dedicated fund for the payment of APCs. Victoria University of Wellington's strategy is to ask researchers, where possible, to deposit papers into our open access institutional repository. This makes content openly available for free.