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Open access publishing

This guide introduces open access, its benefits, the different models, APCs, policies and resources, and OA @ RMIT University.

What is open access?

Open Access (OA) research literature is free online access to the outputs of publicly funded research.

This includes journal articles, conference papers, theses, reports, and any other outputs. Users may read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full-text, or use them for any other lawful purpose.

Open access literature increases the potential readership beyond those with research library affiliations or journal subscriptions.

"Open Access Explained!" by Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics) is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

To find out more about the practice of open research, see Open Research Library Guide.

Open access versus open educational resources - what's the difference?

Gold, Hybrid and Green models

There are several models of open access publishing.


Gold Open Access
  • Publish in a fully Open Access journal.
  • This route may involve a charge but ensures immediate and permanent access to the work. The publication cost, known as an APC (Article Processing Charge), is either covered by the author/s or their institution.
  • Some researchers, intent on ensuring OA for their work, include anticipated APC costs in their list of funding requirements in grant applications.
  • A list of fully open access journals can be found on the DOAJ website.
  Hybrid Open Access
  • Publish in a 'hybrid' journal. 
  • These journals are subscription journals that allow open access for individual articles on payment of a fee (APC).
  • This fee is payable by the author/s or their institution.
  • Note: Some journal websites will refer to this option as Gold Open Access as the content is immediately available, but true Gold Open Access refers only to a publication in a fully open access journal.
  Green Open Access
  • Publish in a subscription-based journal with the full-text deposited into a trusted repository, i.e. a publicly accessible database managed by a research institution (such as RMIT's Research Repository).
  • This route relies on publishers allowing an author to share an earlier version of the work, whilst the publisher maintains ownership of the final published version.

Acknowledgment to Western Sydney University Library

Benefits of open access

Open Access and average citations at RMIT

RMIT publications 2006-2020 per average scholar citations

Data from (1 February 2021) show that Open Access publications by RMIT researchers consistently average more citations than non-open access publications.

Bar graph citations open access vs non-open access RMIT publications 2006-2020