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Open Access

What is Open Access?

Open Access (OA) is about more than just making materials freely available online. Open Access infrastructure allows people to share their work while setting boundaries in regard to attribution, reuse, and archiving. When scholarly outputs are published in OA platforms (usually journals and repositories or archives), publicly funded research can be freely accessed by the global community. OA is compatible with the peer review process, and academic journals are increasingly making their content available via OA publishing models. The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) both have Open Access policies which guide their dissemination mandates.

The following video 'Open Access Explained!' was created by Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics).

Why is Open Access so important in higher education?

OA publications are cited more than those published with traditional models. OA journal articles are cited 18% more than articles that are behind subscription paywalls (Piwowar et al., 2018). 

OA publications have more potential visibility and and influence. Easier access to scholarly publications make global research partnerships more feasible (Bruegelmans et al, 2018)

OA benefits the global scholarly community. Publishing in OA form means that developing nations can better take part in global scholarship, resulting in a more equitable research environment.

OA accelerates the dissemination of knowledge. Science disciplines are increasingly publishing their (non-peer reviewed) work in pre-print repositories, which allow for early discussion and presentation of research findings before the final peer review process begins. Pre-print repositories are freely available and allow for transparent discussion and critique (Texeira da Silva & Dobránszki.

 OA benefits the taxpayer. Research is often publicly funded, yet it is not necessarily publicly accessible due to outputs being published behind subscription paywalls. Making material freely available via OA platforms allows the public to access the latest research findings.

In support of Open Access, The University of Notre Dame Australia has declared the following Open Access Statement of Principle:

"The University supports the underlying principles of open scholarship by making research outputs freely available online"

Notre Dame makes research outputs freely available to the public in the institutional repository ResearchOnline@ND. The University is also a member of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG).


Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (n.d.). Why Open Access? Retrieved from

Breugelmans, J., Roberge, G., Tippett, C., Durning, M., Struck, D. B., & Makanga, M. M. (2018). Scientific impact increases when researchers publish in Open Access and international collaboration: A bibliometric analysis on poverty-related disease papers. PLOS ONE, 13(9), 1-20. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203156

Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., ... & Haustein, S. (2018). The state of OA: a large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6 (4375). doi:10.7717/peerj.4375

Teixeira da Silva, Jaime A, & Dobránszki, J. (2019). Preprint policies among 14 academic publishers. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 45(2), 162-170. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2019.02.009