Image (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Neerav Bhatt, courtesy of Flickr

It’s all about impact. Open Access and signing that publishing deal.

You like the idea of as many people as possible being able to access, use and cite your work. This means getting your ideas out there quickly, so Open Access (OA) publishing is the model for you.

Visibility is what it’s all about: for your ideas, as well as your researcher profile and your career.

Why is Open Access such a big deal? What are the key points you need to know? 

  • Open Access means that everyone can get to your research and ideas
  • If research is blocked by subscriber-only databases, less people will see it and your citations will reflect that.
  • Research is funded by grants and government subsidies. Why shouldn’t everyone get to see it, and build on it?
  • You can still protect your ideas and research with copyright options.
  • Researchers in developing countries (who may have limited finances to access subscription-based  journals and resources) can see your work.
  • Many quality, peer reviewed journals offer open access (there used to be a perception, long since disproved, that it was the lower impact or slightly less reputable ones only).

The offer from a publisher is on the table, your pen is poised to sign the deal. What should you have considered?

  1. When you’ve created a research output, the copyright is yours. You can sign it away, or retain it: so negotiate. If need be, provide an author addendum for inclusion in the contract to spell out your sharing rights.
  2. Ask the publisher to provide you with information about the terms of the contract. How will this deal impact on your university or funding body’s requirement to deposit your work in your university’s open access repository?
  3. Understand the difference between the industry terms of ‘Green OA’ and ‘Gold OA.’ The former allows you to deposit a manuscript of your work in your university repository so anyone who looks can read it. The term ‘Gold OA’ refers to a model where the publisher of the scholarly journal provides full open access to the contents, so nothing is locked away behind paywalls.
  4. Check the Directory of Open Access Journals if you’d like more information on a prospective title. DOAJ provides a sound source of international information about quality, peer-reviewed journals.


If you want to share your creative work and let others use it consider a Creative Commons licence. 

This short video explains the importance of retaining rights on your work.

And, if you still have sweaty palms about signing, contact the library for copyright and publishing advice. Your Research Librarian can point you in the right direction for this, or have a read of our library OA Libguide for lots of detail on open access and author rights

We also have a Macquarie OA week blog to celebrate  International OA week from October 24-30. Expect to see activities on campus as well!

Image courtesy of PHD

Image courtesy of PHD

If you’re really hungry for more research on this topic, check out this recently published articled titled The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review.”

If you love OA and it’s worked for you, why not share tips on your success in the blog below?