Open access

The University of Sydney supports open access to research through the Open Access to University Research Policy 2015.

All types of research outputs can be made open access, including journal articles, reports, theses, books, research data and "non-traditional" research outputs, including creative works.

Publishers use a variety of terms when discussing "open access”. While some of the terms we have seen used are set out below, you should always check with the publisher which term they are using and how they define it.

Benefits of open access publishing

  • Increased citation and use of journal articles when compared to articles available only by subscription or behind a "paywall" (Piwowar H et al., 2018 and Ottaviani J, 2016).
  • Greater public engagement, as your research can be accessed by anyone.
  • Compliance with the open access requirements of major research funders, including the  Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

ARC and NHMRC funded research

The Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) both have mandatory open access requirements as part of their funding policies.

  • If you have funding from the ARC, their Open Access Policy applies to all your research outputs from the ARC funding (pre-prints, or the original version of a manuscript as it is submitted to a journal prior to peer review, are not included).
  • If you have funding from the NHMRC, it’s important to know that the NHMRC open access requirements vary depending on when you were awarded your grant or scholarship. See our NHMRC Open Access Policy: Information for Awardees page for more information on what you must do as a grant or scholarship fund recipient awarded after September 2022.

Journal articles

There are three tiers of open access publishing. Green, gold, and hybrid.

Gold open access: publishing in an open access journal

Gold open access means publishing an article in an open access journal, where all articles are made open access immediately upon publication.

You can find a list of peer-reviewed open access journals via the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

To publish in an open access journal:

  1. Find the right journals for your target audience. Check DOAJ for a list of open access journals.
  2. You can also use DOAJ to check the journal’s policies and if they charge an article processing charge (APC).
  3. Check that the journal you’re publishing in is reputable. Some journals charge publishing fees to authors without providing peer review, editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals. You can contact a librarian for help with selecting the right open access journal.
  4. Submit your manuscript (if applicable, pay the article processing charge on acceptance).

When the journal publishes the article online, it will be freely available to anyone that is interested in it.

Green open access: archiving in a repository

Green open access involves publishing a peer reviewed article (also called an author accepted manuscript) in an open access institutional repository, without the publisher's formatting or branding. Our open access institutional repository is Sydney eScholarship.

Most journal publishers will allow you to submit your author accepted manuscript in a repository, usually with an embargo period (during which access to the specified versions of the journal article is not to be made publicly available). An advantage of green open access is that there are no fees to make a version of your article open access.

Hybrid open access: paying for your individual article to be open access

Hybrid open access is when a non-open access journal (i.e. a subscription journal) enables open access to an individual article upon publication, provided an Article Processing Charge (APC) has been paid by the author.

The author’s institution will also need to pay a subscription fee to access the journal.

Learn more about strategic publishing and article processing charges.

Open access publishing agreements

University-wide Read and Publish agreements (also described as “transformative agreements”) enable authors to publish their articles in selected open access journals immediately upon acceptance for publication, free of individual article processing charges (APCs). We support selected Read and Publish agreements; specific details are available on the Read and Publish page.


Many scholarly publishers provide the option of publishing your book open access. This typically requires a book processing charge (BPC), which can be expensive. Some book publishers also allow you to archive a copy of your book or chapter in an institutional repository, such as Sydney eScholarship, to comply with funder requirements. Contact your publisher to find out more.

Sydney University Press supports the principles of open access publishing, and books accepted for publication can be open access either on release or after an embargo. For more information, visit the Sydney University Press Open Access page or contact


Making your thesis open access makes it available to the public, rather than only  current University of Sydney staff and students. This increases the exposure of your work, raising your profile as a researcher. You can make your thesis open access when you lodge your thesis.

You can also request a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), which tracks usage of your open access thesis, making it easier to discover and cite.

Theses that contain third-party copyright

If you want to make your thesis open access, you'll need to make sure you have permission to include any third-party copyright materials.

Theses including publications

If your thesis includes publications, you’ll need to make sure you have permission to make each of the articles open access.