Open access | Uncover all key principles

Open access

Free and immediate online access to research articles and outputs for everyone, everywhere

What is open access?

Open access (OA) is an international movement that widens access to scholarly research.

It provides immediate, permanent, and free access to scholarly research published online so that anyone, anywhere, can read and build upon the research.

An article or research output is considered ‘open access’ when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for, and search within the information. Open access material can also be reused under the terms and conditions of its specific license.

Unlike the traditional ‘pay to read’ publishing model, the open access ‘pay to publish’ model allows readers to access scholarly information without having to pay a subscription fee.

Instead, when an author chooses to publish an article open access, they may be required to pay an article processing charge (APC) depending on the type of open access publication they choose to publish with.

Plus, authors can choose to publish open access for free by publishing their work in an online repository.


Open access 101: everything you need to know

Fill in the form below for an in-depth look at different types of open access and find the best option for your research.

Open access

What is the purpose of open access publishing?

The primary goal of open access is to ensure research discoveries are widely accessible and can be built upon to drive real change in the world.

Research advancement leads to improved quality of life, more efficient treatments, new industries, and solutions to challenges like the COVID- 19 pandemic and climate change. As such, the more people can read and build upon the latest research, the more likely we will benefit as a society.

Yet, research breakthroughs are often hampered by technical, legal, and financial barriers, including paywalls. This prevents the timely use of valuable new research findings because many are not able to access research findings.

This is where open access publishing can help. With its ability to reduce barriers, expand access, and promote innovation, open access accelerates research and solves societal issues.


Open access

What can be published open access?

Open access can be applied to all forms of research including peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed academic articles, research data, study protocols, and registered reports.

Here are all the research outputs that can be published open access on an F1000 publishing venue.

What are the different types of open access?

Many types of open access (OA) exist, including Green OA, Gold OA, Diamond or Platinum OA, and Hybrid OA. The different types of open access involve varying costs, embargo periods, and degrees of autonomy. Explore the different types of open access in detail here to see which is right for your research.

Open access

Green OA

Green open access, also known as self-archiving, is when you publish an earlier version of your article in an accessible repository, such as an institutional repository or PubMed Central.

  • An embargo period usually applies before you can archive or share your manuscript.

  • You usually transfer the copyright for your work to the publisher.

  • You can share your article at no cost.

Some publications only allow the archiving of a final accepted manuscript, and some require authors to deposit their own paper, which can be time-consuming.

Open access

Gold OA

Gold open access is when the final published, typeset, and copyedited version of your article is made permanently and freely available online immediately upon publication.

  • A publisher-mediated form of open access.

  • Share your research anywhere you choose as soon as it is published.

  • Comply with your funder’s mandates to publish open access.

  • You retain full copyright.

  • An article processing charge is usually required.

Open access

Diamond or Platinum OA

‘Diamond open access’ and ‘Platinum open access’ are two terms often used interchangeably. Diamond or Platinum open access refers to publications that are free to authors to publish with and readers to access.

  • You do not need to pay a fee to publish.

  • Articles are free to read.

  • Publications are community-driven.

  • Publications are supported by institutions or national or regional infrastructure.

Open access

Hybrid OA

Hybrid open access refers to publications that operate a hybrid model, where researchers can pay to publish an open access article in an otherwise non-open access publication.

  • You need to pay article processing charge to publish an article openly.

  • Articles are free to access.

  • Other articles in your chosen publication require a paid subscription to access.

How do I publish open access?

There are two ways to make your work open access:


The first step to self-depositing your research is to select an appropriate repository for your research topic. If there isn’t a suitable discipline-specific repository available, you should use a generalist, institutional, or national repository.  

Next, you will need to upload a copy of your manuscript to your chosen repository. It can be stored and accessed by people who otherwise would be blocked by a paywall, among other reasons. 

Finally, you will need to cite any research data in the body of your manuscript and add it to your list of references using its persistent identifier (DOI). 

The first step is to find the most suitable publication for your research based on the publication’s aims and scope.

Next, you will need to read your chosen publishing venue’s instructions for authors in full. This will outline everything you.

If your article is accepted and published, the publisher will apply a CC BY license to your research.

Open access

What is a CC BY license?

Creative Commons-Attribution (CC BY) licenses are at the heart of open access publishing.

With this kind of licensing, scholarly credit is balanced with the need for research to be shared widely and at pace.

The author retains all rights to their work under a CC BY license, but anyone, anywhere in the world, may read, share, reuse, or remix the work, as long as the original author is properly credited.

What are the benefits of open access?

Choosing how to publish your research is an important decision for any author. With open access, you can create a more equitable system of knowledge that drives further research discoveries.

Accelerate scientific discovery

Open access supports the reproducibility of results and accelerates the dissemination of findings across the world.

As a result, this openness and accessibility lead to increased visibility and discoverability as researchers worldwide can read, build upon, reuse, and support your research findings.

Increased citation and usage

Studies show that research published openly is viewed three times more often than research hidden behind a paywall.

In fact, research suggests that opening your research can generate up to 25% more citations.

Wider public engagement

The importance of communicating research to the general public cannot be overstated.

By publishing openly, you amplify the impact of your research by helping those beyond academia to discover, understand, and apply your research. This includes policymakers, practitioners, and non-governmental organizations.

Compliance with funder and government mandates

Increasingly, research funders are requesting grant holders publish their research openly.

You can easily meet such policies and mandates by publishing your research open access. This includes Plan S in Europe, and OSTP, and the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy in the U.S.

Inspire interdisciplinary innovation

Open access offers researchers from multiple fields and specialisms the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary research on a global scale. When all researchers can gain access to your research, it may result in new collaborative partnerships and pave the way for new research opportunities.

By drawing on the unique perspectives and valuable insights of researchers with varying professional expertise, research directly benefits from the diversity of thought and experience.

Build credibility through transparency

By making your research freely available, you strengthen your research integrity.

This is especially true if you give access to your data and thus make your research more transparent. In doing so, you increase the credibility of your research and make it easier for you to reuse your data in other research projects.

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Discover what open access can do for your research