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Open Access (OA) applies to a wide range of freely accessible materials such as online books, images, videos, audio, datasets, patents, scholarly works and grey literature. The universal intention of OA is to allow access to scholarly research material, without restrictions such as cost. Another focus to enable free public access to important scholarly works and allow reuse under appropriate licenses (such as Creative Commons), which benefits academia, education, the health sector and wider community. 

This guide is focused on OA for publishing scholarly works, advocacy groups and online resources. Information about OA data for researchers is covered in the Open Data (OD) tab above.

Legal basis of OA

OA relies on the consent of the copyright holder or the expiration of copyright (for older literature now in the public domain).

An easy, effective, and increasingly common way for copyright holders to consent to OA is to use a Creative Commons license. Many other open-content licenses are also suitable or copyright holders can compose special licenses or permission statements for their works (with legal advice).

It is important to note that OA is about lawful sharing, not sharing in disregard of law. Most authors for example, choose to retain the right to block the distribution of mangled or misattributed copies. These conditions block plagiarism, misrepresentation, and commercial re-use while authorising uses required by legitimate scholarship.

Publishing models

There are three key publishing schemes (or typical models) utilised by publishers and researchers for open access, known as GoldGreen and Diamond/Platinum.

GOLD - Authors are charged a publication fee by the publisher to made their work freely accessible to readers immediately and without restrictions. The fees are one-off and known as ‘article processing charges’ (APCs) and 'book processing charges' (BPCs).

GREEN - Authors provide access to their publications by adding them to an open access institutional research repository. Authors may only provide their works in this way if they own the copyright, this is not permissible if the work has been published elsewhere and the publisher retains the copyright.

DIAMOND/PLATINUM - Authors are not charged publication fees and readers are not charged subscription or access fees. Authors may retain copyright of the work.

For more information on publishing models, visit Open Access Australasia's page on the different types of open access.

OA Publishers

A number of well-known academic publishers are taking an active role in the OA movement. Before submitting a work to a publisher, it is important to read information on their website relating to OA publishing before submitting your work.

Examples of trustworthy publishers in health science who publish their OA publishing options and policies on their websites are:

Of course, this is not a definitive list of OA publishers. Complexities relating to OA will vary from publisher to publisher. It is very important to check each publisher’s individual OA publishing scheme and their packages. In particular, authors should check for information about author rights, the peer-review process, funding requirements, turnaround times after a submission, article processing fees and any ‘hidden’ fees.

Monash University Agreements

As a member of the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), Monash University has negotiated a number of Read and Publish agreements with journals. Monash University employees who are the corresponding author of an article can publish open access with no, or reduced, fees by entering their Monash University email address in the author portal of the journal. 


  • Open Research Toolkit – contains information and resources related to all aspects of open research, created by the Open Research Working Group.



Selected research repositories:


  • Figshare - an open academic research database.
  • Europe PubMed Central – global collection of life science materials from credible sources.
  • PubMed – extensive, ubiquitous database containing abstracts for biomedical sources from Medline, life science journals and online books. Some citations may link to full-text content. Not all content is peer-reviewed.
  • PubPsych – a search system for psychological resources, coordinated by Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information  (ZPID).
  • VADIO – biology/life science research search engine with a focus on products, protocols, bioinformatics and presentations. 

Open Research Networks:


  • Australia and New Zealand Open Research Network – made up of research professionals, with an aim to grow OA and create opportunities for researchers to connect with each other.
  • Open Access Australasia (previously Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, AOASG) – major Australian / New Zealand body advocating for collaboration and support for Open and FAIR research in Australasia.



Open Data (OD) refers to data sets made freely available for researchers.

These datasets are usually provided by governments (via their agencies) and publicly funded research. The Panton Principles for OD recommend that data that is publicly funded be placed in the public domain via the use of the Public Domain Dedication and Licence (PDDL) or Creative Commons Zero Waiver (CC-0).

Health data is a key priority of the open data movement because of it’s bearing on improved health outcomes (from The Global Report: Public Services - Health by the Open Government Partnership). Making data more open aids medical research by making information available on populations, health inputs and outcomes, government policies, spending and programs. For more information about governments' openness around the world, see the Global Government Index.

The follow resources provide open data for researchers:

What is rights retention?

Using a rights retention statement allows authors to easily share their revised manuscripts right after they're published.

By including a rights retention statement in their article or paper submissions, authors can keep the rights to share their manuscripts without any delays, in open access research repositories, such as the Monash Health Research Repository

How do I add a rights retention statement to my submission?

Retention statements can be placed in the Acknowledgements section of an article submission or with an accompanying cover letter. Plan S has created templates for rights retention statements at pre-submission or during submission.

You should include the statement before or at the point of submission, not after.

The publisher says I retain copyright. Is that true?

In many cases, the answer is no. When you sign an exclusive license or agreement with your publisher, you typically give away all copyright rights, even if you technically still "own" the copyright. This means that, for the entire copyright duration, the publisher has the sole authority to publish, republish, make money from, and create derivatives (like translations) of your work. As the author, you can only share manuscript versions in a repository if the publisher allows it.

This is why it is encouraged to include a rights retention statement.

More information

NHMRC - Open access and retention of ownership rights

Plan S - Rights Retention Strategy

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