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Scholarly Communications: Open Access

This guide provides useful information on scholarly publishing, such as finding the best journal, author identity, or promoting publications and communications.

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) means that electronic scholarly research outputs are made freely available on the web to all, with no or limited license restrictions. In doing so you maximise the impact of your work as the potential readership is far greater than that for publications where the full-text is restricted to subscribers only.

Open access publications go through the same peer review process as non-open access publications. Open access does not interfere with a decision to exploit results commercially, e.g. through patenting.

The principles driving the Open Access Policy statement are that the outputs from publicly-funded research should be publicly available to researchers and to potential users in education, business, charitable and public sectors, and to the general public.

Gold Open Access (Open Access at the point of publication)

Gold Open Access: There are now many open access journals and platforms where researchers can make their articles openly accessible at the point of publication. 

  • A researcher submits an article to a publisher, which then undergoes the traditional peer review process.
  • Upon acceptance of the article, the publisher makes the article freely available at the point of publication
  • The cost of publication is usually covered by a one-off fee (article processing charge / APC) paid by the author. The average cost of an APC is approx. €2,000 per paper. 
  • Some gold open access journals do not levy a fee directly on authors, but instead publishing costs are sourced through other means e.g. funding agencies, institutions and professional associations (e.g. Open Library of Humanities). This is sometimes called platinum or diamond open access.
  • Some journals are fully open access, others are hybrid i.e. traditional subscription journals with an optional OA article processing charge for individual articles. 

Green Open Access (Self-archiving)

Green Open Access refers to “self-archiving” your publications in an open access repository, i.e. in addition to publication in traditional subscription journals, authors also deposit a copy of their articles into an institutional repository such as Research Repository UCD.

  • The author deposits their postprint/author's accepted-manuscript/final version of the article after all post-peer review revisions have been made (but before copy-editing, branding and layout etc. have been applied by the publisher) into Research Repository UCD
  • It is free for authors to upload to Research Repository UCD and for users to download from Research Repository UCD
  • Research Repository UCD ensures that sharing the article complies with the publisher’s copyright policy - in some cases an embargo may apply. 98% of journal articles which are uploaded to Research Repository UCD are approved for sharing in full compliance with publishers' policies. Specific publisher policies in relation to self-archiving can be checked at Sherpa Romeo.
  • A link is provided from the open access repository version to the published version
  • Using Research Repository UCD complements, and does not replace, existing publishing processes. 

Open Access Value Pyramid

Open Access Value Pyramid

Making your research Open Access and complying with funder requirements

The Benefits at a Glance

Open access: democratising knowledge (7:16)