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Open Access Toolkit

What is open access?

Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. Through licensing via an open license (usually a Creative Commons License), freely available outputs can also be legally shared, reused and adapted. Hence, open access is more than just free access. (Text adapted from Open Access Australasia [CC BY]).

The glossary in this guide provides definitions of the major concepts in the OA space.

Why make my work open access?

  • Access: Open access makes research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection rather than keeping those results hidden behind a subscription paywall. 
  • Increase reach: 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.
  • Author control: Authors can retain copyright and reuse rights when publishing open access, giving you much greater control over your own work.
  • Funder Mandates: Many authors need to meet open access requirements set by their funding body. Publishing open access satisfies this requirement.
  • Policy Compliance: The UWA Research Integrity Policy (section 10B) encourages UWA authors to: 
    • make their publications openly available in accordance with the FAIR Principles;
    • avoid transferring copyright to the publisher and ensure publishing contracts allow self-archiving of the Author's accepted manuscript in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository;
    • adhere to the Open Access requirements of funding bodies;
    • add an explanatory note to the publication information in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository where legal or contractual obligations make Open Access limited or impossible;
    • and make publications available on Open Access under the most appropriate Creative Commons licence, and preferably the CC BY licence.

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



 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.