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Open Access Toolkit: What is Open Access?

New! Read and Publish agreements

Through the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) consortia, the UWA Library has entered into several "Read and Publish" agreements which provide UWA authors with the opportunity to publish open access immediately on acceptance, and free of any transactional Article Processing Charges (APCs) with major academic publishers. Six new agreements commenced on 1 January 2024 with American Psychological Association (APA), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Company of Biologists, the Institute of Physics (IoP), the International Water Association (IWA) Publishing, John Benjamins Publishing Company and The Geological Society. More information on the Read and Publish agreements available to UWA authors can be found on the Read & Publish Agreements tab of this Toolkit.

What is open access?

Open access (OA) refers to the availability of research outputs via the internet, such that any user can find, freely access, read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, link, crawl, mine and otherwise use and reuse the research outputs both manually and using automated tools. Any use or reuse is subject to full and proper attribution, and usually will have an appropriate licence, such as any of the options available through the Creative Commons suite of licences, and should not infringe any copyright to third-party material included in the research output. More information on copyright is available on the Copyright at UWA webpage

OA can incorporate the same features as traditional scholarly publishing including peer review, copy-editing and quality assurance. The primary difference is that the publisher does not charge for access to the journal or other type of publication. Anyone can read, copy, print, download or link to the publication free of charge.

Why make my work open access?

  • Open access makes research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall. 
  • Open access takes your research to a wider audience and makes it easier for other researchers and the general community to find, read, engage with and cite your work.
  • Evidence is emerging that open access publishing can increase citation rates. Please see the Open Access Impact Studies list on the right hand side of this page to view research demonstrating the relationship between open access and increased citation impact.
  • Authors can retain copyright and reuse rights when publishing open access, giving you much greater control over your own work.
  • Many authors need to meet open access requirements set by their funding body. Publishing open access satisfies this requirement.


Listen to UWA and other researchers discuss the importance of making research openly accessible:


What are the different types of open access?

There are various ways to publish open access, and how - and where - you publish OA will depend on whether you are publishing an article, book or journal. Three of the common "models" of OA publishing are described in the table below. 

Immediate open access

Repository-based open access

“Hybrid” open access

  • Author publishes an article in an open access journal which has no subscription fees, or makes their book open access immediately upon publication
  • Author may have to pay an article processing charge (APC) or a book processing charge (BPC)
  • The publication is immediately available for all readers to access freely
  • Free or $
  • The author accepted version of a published work, known as the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM), is deposited into a subject-based repository or an institutional repository (e.g. the UWA Profiles and Research Repository)
  • An embargo period may be imposed by the journal/book publisher as outlined in the author/publisher agreement
  • Free
  • Author publishes an article in a subscription journal but the publisher will make the article OA immediately if you pay an APC
  • If the author chooses not to pay the APC, the article is only available to readers with access to an institutional subscription or who have purchased access


The Publishing an OA articlePublishing an OA book and Publishing an OA journal tabs of this guide explain the different OA models for each publication type in more detail.

Open Access Australasia

"Open Access Australasia (previously Australasian Open Access Strategy Group – AOASG) advocates for and supports practical initiatives on open access in Australia and New Zealand. They do this through raising awareness of why open access is important, collaboration regionally and internationally and by helping to build capacity and expertise within this region." See for more information. 


Contact us

Email your questions to our friendly library staff.


HDR Students

UWA Staff

More contact options are available on the Library Contact us page.

More information on publishing your work

For more general information on publishing your work and publishing strategically, visit our How to Publish and Disseminate Research guide.

Open Access Impact Studies

Eger, T., Mertens, A., & Scheufen, M. (2021). Publication cultures and the citation impact of open access. Managerial and Decision Economics, 42(8), 1980–1998.

Langham-Putrow, A., Bakker, C., & Riegelman, A. (2021). Is the open access citation advantage real? A systematic review of the citation of open access and subscription-based articles. PLoS One, 16(6), e0253129.

Lawrence, S. (2001). Free online availability substantially increases a paper’s impact. Nature, 411(6837), 521–521.

Wheeler, J. et al. (2022). Impact factions: assessing the citation impact of different types of open access repositories. Scientometrics,127, 4977–5003.


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.