Open Access

Why contribute to open access | OA journals | Definitions | Advocacy and initiatives | Open access mandates | More information

Open access is making published research freely available on the internet. Open access material includes journal articles, artwork, books and book chapters, conference proceedings, theses, data and images.

OA literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the author or copyright-holder. (Peter Suber)

Why contribute to open access

  • Wider and more diverse readership, e.g., researchers and practitioners worldwide.
  • Increased visibility and discoverability - most open access repositories and journals are harvested by Google and Google Scholar.
  • Increased number of citations - 66% of studies which investigated whether there is a citation advantage to open access articles found there was an advantage; others found no advantage or were inconclusive. (SPARC Europe)
  • Early access advantage - the sooner your pre-print or post-print is open access, the sooner people can read it.
  • Free access of publicly funded research for the public to use with due acknowledgement.
  • Wide communication of new ideas and research making a social, cultural and economic contribution to society.

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OA journals

There are three main ways that researchers can make journal articles open access.

  • Green: also known as “self-archiving”, where a version of a published article in a subscription journal is made available online, for example, in an institutional or subject repository or on personal web pages. Most publishers allow article pre-prints or post-prints to be made open access in this way.
  • Gold: publishing in open access journals, which are freely available on the internet. In some cases the publisher charges an article processing charge (APC).
  • Hybrid: some subscription journals allow authors to pay an APC for their article to be open access immediately.

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Article processing charge (APC) Fee charged to the author or creator, to cover the cost of publishing and disseminating an article, rather than charging the potential reader of the article. APCs may apply to both commercial and open access publications.
Accepted author version Version of a manuscript that has been accepted by a publisher for publication, also known as post-print.
Embargo period Some publishers only allow an item to become freely available after a set length of time, often 12 or 24 months.
Institutional repository Online database designed to collect the intellectual output of a particular institution or university, including digital collections such as electronic theses, post-prints, or faculty scholarship.
Post-print A manuscript draft after it has been peer reviewed, also known as accepted author version.
Pre-print A manuscript draft that has not yet been subject to formal peer review, usually distributed to receive early feedback on research from peers, also known as submitted version.
Publisher's version Final version of a manuscript as it appears in the journal, after peer review and processing by a publisher, also known as version of record.
Repository An archive to deposit manuscripts. These can be institutional, e.g., University of Auckland Research Repository, ResearchSpace websites such as, or subject-based such as arXiv.
Submitted version A manuscript draft that has not yet been subject to formal peer review, also known as pre-print.
Subscription model Business model whereby a fee is paid in order to gain access to scholarly research outputs, usually journals.
Version of record Final version of a manuscript as it appears in the journal, after peer review and processing by a publisher, also known as publisher's version.

​Definitions adapted from

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Advocacy and initiatives

Various global initiatives encourage wider adoption of publishing scholarly research as open access, for example:

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Open access mandates

Some funding bodies and institutions mandate that publications resulting from their funding must be deposited into an open access institutional repository, for example:

Funding bodies


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More information

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All University of Auckland researchers are required to deposit copies of all their published work or documentation of their non-text creative works into the University Research Repository, ResearchSpace - see the University's Open Access Policy. The University requires that this work be made open access where possible. Log in to Te Waka Huia Rangahau | Research Outputs to deposit your work.

The University of Auckland Research Repository, ResearchSpace

The University Research Repository has:

  • Records and full text of staff research outputs, including creative works, journal articles, conference papers, presentations.
  • Records and full text of doctoral theses and some masters theses.

The repository is harvested by all major search engines, including Google Scholar and

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Why contribute to the University Research Repository

  • Your work is permanently archived, even if the original website where it is stored changes.
  • You will have a unique, permanent URL for each piece of work.
  • Your work will be more easily found by Google and Google Scholar and other search engines.
  • Even if your work is not open access, the University Research Repository record gives enough detail for other researchers to locate it.
  • You will get usage statistics - how often the item record is viewed and for open access work, how often it is downloaded.
  • Your work will be accessible in one place - both for you and potential readers.

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Tips for self-archiving

  • For text-based works, e.g., journals and books, save your pre-print and post-print versions. Using filenames which identify the version will help you locate it when you are ready to upload.
  • For non-text-based works, e.g., exhibitions, performances or presentations, keep evidence of your work, such as reviews, brochures, advertisements, recordings and photographs.
  • When you obtain permission to use third-party material in your work, e.g., images, ensure that the permission extends to making the work open access in the research repository.
  • Retain copyright over your own work and understand your rights as the author. Even if the publisher owns the copyright, you are often able to make a version open access within a repository.

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Depositing in the University Research Repository

  • You can upload and deposit articles, images, drawings, conference papers, presentations, books, book chapters through Te Waka Huia Rangahau | Research Outputs.
  • For each research output, you can upload and deposit more than one document, e.g., post-print or accepted manuscript and the publisher's version; or for an exhibition, you might upload photos, the exhibition programme and a newspaper review.
  • Some publishers allow a particular version to be made open access; some stipulate an embargo period, whereby that version can only be made open access after a set time.
  • Library staff will always check the copyright before making publications open access and your publication will only be made open access after any embargo period has passed.
  • For more information and instructions on uploading and depositing your research outputs, see Capturing your research outputs.

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Other University of Auckland initiatives

The University Library leads several open access initiatives, including:

See the full list of Digitised collections.

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Self-archiving | Choosing a quality journal | Article processing charges | Publishing an open access book | Copyright

How to make your work open access

  • Make your work in the University Research Repository open access.
  • Archive your work on a personal website or in a subject repository, such as arXiv or RePEc.
  • Publish in an open access journal - some open access journals are free to publish in, others charge an article processing charge (APC). This PDF graphic can answer some questions.
  • Some traditional journals (where a subscription is required to read articles) give you the option to pay an APC to have your article open access immediately.
  • See this flowchart for options to make your articles open access.

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Many publishers allow you to publish a version of your work on your own website, in an institutional repository or in a subject repository. To see what your publisher allows:

  • Check the copyright information on their website.
  • Use the Sherpa/RoMEO database listing publisher copyright policies and self-archiving rights for many individual journal titles.

See OA at the University.

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Choosing an open access journal

The Royal Society of New Zealand has published a valuable resource Selecting a quality publisher providing guidance on choosing quality publishers and avoiding predatory ones.

These are some quick questions to ask when choosing a journal:

  • Who is on the editorial board and who else has published within the journal?
  • The publisher's reputation - can you find out more about them from their website, can you see what other journals they publish? Be wary of unsolicited emails to you for articles.
  • Are article processing charges clearly stated and outlined?
  • Do you, the author, retain your own copyright? If not, can you still upload a version somewhere else, e.g., personal website or use your article with classes? Can you make your University Research Repository version open access?
  • Is the journal indexed in a database?
  • Peer review process - make sure it is clearly outlined. Be wary of unfeasible turnaround times, e.g., statements that articles will be assessed within 2-3 days.

You can also check out the following websites for more information:

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Article processing charges

An article processing charge (APC), also known as a publication fee, is a fee which is sometimes charged by publishers to authors to make a work immediately available open access in either an open access journal or hybrid journal.  APCs may be paid by the author, the author's institution, or their research funder. 

A number of Open Access Publishing Agreements, negotiated by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), are now available to University of Auckland researchers. Open Access Publishing Agreements are a type of transformative agreement that seek to increase the number of OA articles published in scholarly journals, while eliminating the need for authors to pay APCs.  See Open Access publishing agreements.

Te Tumu Herenga - Libraries and Learning Services at the University of Auckland does not fund APCs however, there are some APC discounts and waivers that University of Auckland members are entitled to:

  • Biochemistry Society and Portland Press Journals
    Corresponding authors from the University of Auckland can publish their papers as Gold OA articles in all seven Portland Press journals without needing to pay any article publishing charges (APCs). More information
  • BioMed Central
    A 15% discount on APCs is automatically applied when University of Auckland members submit a journal article for publication in BioMed Central or SpringerOpen journals. More information
  • IGI Global
    APCs will be fully waived for all University of Auckland members who select the open access option when publishing with IGI Global.  IGI Global create an annual APC fund equal to the value of investment the University of Auckland makes through annual subscriptions to IGI Global publications.  More information
  • Karger Publishers
    APCs will be fully waived for all University of Auckland members publishing in Open Access and hybrid journals (subscription journals with an Open Access option). There is an ‘eligible’ tick-box for Open Access Agreements during the manuscript submission steps. Karger Publishers will provide the eligible authors a PDF copy of the 'Version of Record'. More information.
  • Microbiology Society
    APCs will be fully waived for all University of Auckland members publishing in any of the Microbiology Society journals.  More information
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry
    University of Auckland members will get a 15% discount (deducted automatically) on APCs if they select to publish their article gold open access. More information

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Publishing an open access book

There are various ways you can make your book open access:

  • Publish in the traditonal way, and if copyright allows, then make your book or chapters in our University Research Repository open access.
  • Publish the book with an open access publisher. See the Open Access Directory's list of book publishers including both popular and academic publishers.
  • Increasingly some publishers are publishing some of their books open access, for example, Springer and Cambridge University Press. You usually have to pay a fee for this.
  • Make your book available on the Internet. If you create and distribute an e-book online, remember to:
    • Get an ISBN (International Standard Book Number).
    • Ensure you have permission to use all material, including images. You may need to gain permission from the creator. Find out more at the University's Copyright at Auckland.
    • Apply a Creative Commons Licence to specify how others can reuse your work.
    • Ensure your work will be preserved, by depositing a copy into the University Research Repository.

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As soon as you create a work, you own the copyright in that work, unless you transfer it in a signed agreement. For instance, when you publish a journal article, the publisher will usually include a transfer of copyright in their agreement. You can use the SPARC Author Addendum to negotiate to retain your own rights; see Author Rights to find out how. Always retain a copy of your contracts, especially if they differ from what the publisher usually allows.

Find out more about copyright and licensing:

  • Copyright at Auckland
    The University of Auckland's copyright page.
  • Tohatoha (formerly Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand)
    Create a Creative Commons Licence to allow others to reuse your works. There are six licences, made up of four elements specifying whether others: must attribute your work, may profit from it, may share an adaptation of your work, must apply the same licence on their adaptation of your work.
  • Publishers' websites will have their copyright and self-archiving policies, usually under publisher’s copyright or author’s submission guidelines, or publisher’s open access policies.
  • Sherpa/RoMEO database
    List of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving rights.

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You can find open access content through search engines such as Google or Google Scholar. Alternatively you can visit particular repositories and search engines of open access material such as:

  • arXiv
    E-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.
  • BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)
    Search engine for academic open access web resources; searches across several repositories.
  • CORE
    COnnecting REpositories, open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide.
  • DOAJ
    Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • DOAB
    Directory of Open Access Books.
    Detects papers behind pay-walls and invites their authors to upload them in one click to an open repository.
  • Law Review Commons
    Law reviews and legal journals.
  • Lazy Scholar
    Finds free scholarly full texts, metrics, and provides quick citation and sharing links automatically.
    Indexes research papers and related resources from within New Zealand.
  • oaDOI
    Indexes 90 million articles and delivers open-access full-text versions over a free, fast, open API.
    Academic books, mainly in social sciences and humanities. Overlaps with DOAB, but has more search functionality
  • Open Access Button
    Free, legal research articles and data delivered instantly or automatically requested form authors.
  • OpenDOAR
    Directory of Open Access Repositories.
  • PLOS
    Public Library of Science.
  • PubMed Central
    Biomedicine and life sciences journal literature.
  • ResearchSpace
    University of Auckland Research Repository.

Last updated : 1 November 2022
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