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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.

Overview of policies

The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Open Access policies aim to ensure that the discovery of publicly funded research is made available to researchers and the wider community.

The ARC Funding Agreement requires all fully or partially funded research to be made publicly available in an Open Access institutional repository within 12 months of the date of publication. 

The NHMRC Open Access Policy requires all peer-reviewed publications arising from NHMRC-funded research to be made available immediately upon publication.

ARC mandates

The ARC Open Access policy mandate that research outputs be made openly accessible within 12 months of publication under the following conditions:

  • Research outputs can de deposited in either an open access institutional repository or in another acceptable locations (e.g. the publisher's website where the published version of the article is Open Access with a Creative Commons licence, or public digital archives, such as PubMed Central, or in an OA journal).
  • Metadata must be made publicly available through an institutional repository within three months of publication.
  • ARC requires all research outputs created since 1 January 2013 to be made publicly available, except for research data and research data outputs.
  • Book and book chapters differ slightly from those for journal articles and conference papers. The ARC’s open access mandate may require that you deposit your work in an institutional repository even if you are publishing with a commercial publisher.  This may require negotiation with the publisher.

NHMRC mandates

The NHMRC Open Access policy mandates the open access sharing and use of publications arising from NHMRC-funded research.

  • NHMRC mandates that all peer-reviewed publications produced from NHMRC grants awarded under Grant Opportunity Guidelines issued on or after 20 September 2022 be made immediately open access, without any embargo period. To comply with the policy, peer reviewed outputs must be made open access with a Creative Commons CC-BY licence via one of the 2 routes outlined below.  
  • Other NHMRC grants for publications produced up to 31 December 2023 must be made open access in a repository or other acceptable location within a 12-month period form the date of publications (NHMRC, 2022, p.10-11). 
  • Metadata must be made publicly available through an institutional repository within three months of publication. 
  • Research outputs can be deposited in either an open access institutional repository or in another acceptable locations (e.g. the publisher's website where the published version of the article is Open Access with a Creative Commons licence, or public digital archives, such as PubMed Central, or in an OA journal).

There are two highlighted routes to open access required by the NHMRC, these are highlighted below. 

Route One: Version of Record open access (journal-based open access)   

Making the Version of Record immediately open access with a CC BY licence.  This route can be used when an article is being published in an open access journal, described as 'gold' or 'diamond' open access depending upon the business model of the journal. 

Route Two: Author Accepted Manuscript open access (repository-based open access)   

The Author Accepted Manuscript is made immediately open access with a CC BY licence by depositing the Author Accepted Manuscript in an open online repository such as an institutional or other subject-based repository.   This route is sometimes called ‘green’ open access. There is no fee or APC associated with this route (NHMRC, 2022, p.12). 


Research data

NHMRC encourages researchers to consider the reuse value of their data and to take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC supported research. Researchers are encouraged to adhere to the F.A.I.R Principles and CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. When sharing data, researchers must ensure that appropriate metadata accompany the datasets. This will allow users of the data to fully understand the data, the curation strategies, assumptions, experimental conditions, and any other details relevant to the interpretation of the data (NHMRC, 2022, p.16-17).


Books

NHMRC encourages authors of scholarly books, scholarly books chapters and edited research books, including prestigious reference works, and producers of other forms of research outputs to make them open access where possible (NHMRC, 2022, p.11).

Reference

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2022). Open access policy https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/nhmrc-open-access-policy-2022

Chief Investigator obligations

As a grant's Chief Investigator or Project Leader you are responsible for:

  • depositing the research publication in an Open Access institutional repository or another acceptable location (such as PubMed Central, publisher's website, or OA journal) within 12 months of publication
  • depositing the publication metadata in an Open Access institutional repository within 3 months of publication
  • ensuring that only the 'Accepted' or 'Published' version of your publication is available open access
  • ensuring in cases where there may be legal or contractual reasons that limit compliance with the mandate (e.g. publications that cannot be made open access or with an embargo period extending beyond 12 months) that you provide reasons for non-compliance to the funding body in the Final Report