Open access is the free unrestricted access to digital literature such as journal articles and books. It is open to all without charge and licencing terms allow liberal reuse provided that the original source is cited. 

Other research outputs (such as research data) can also be made available using an open access model.

There are two ways to make your research open access. 

Green Open Access

  • The self-archiving of an article in a subject repository or institutional repository (usually after an embargo period specified by the publisher).
  • The article is made open access without payment of an APC.
  • The version of the article deposited is usually the author’s accepted manuscript (post peer review before the publisher formatting has been applied), where permitted it may be the publisher’s PDF.
  • The SHERPA/ROMEO website contains information on many publishers’ copyright and licence to publish policies.

Gold Open Access

  • Published work is freely available via the publisher’s website immediately on publication.
  • Usually published under a Creative Commons licence.
  • An Article Processing Charge (APC) may apply.

Watch a YouTube video on

Open Access for Books

  • The OAPEN Foundation has launched a new open access (OA) books toolkit for researchers and academic book authors. The toolkit is a free-to-access, stakeholder-agnostic resource that aims to help authors better understand OA for books, increase trust in OA book publishing, provide reliable and easy-to-find answers to questions from authors, and to provide guidance on the process of publishing an OA book. Access the toolkit.
  • Many publishers allow deposit of the author accepted manuscript of a book chapter or portion of a book in the institutional repository. Please contact us for help checking your publisher self archiving policy for books.

What are the benefits of Open Access? 

Researchers who publish using an open access model benefit in many ways: 

  • it leads to much faster and wider dissemination and sharing of research findings. 

  • open access maximises research impact – numerous studies are confirming that an OA article is much more likely to be accessed and cited than an article which sits behind paid-for, traditional subscription models. 

  • institutional repositories (such as AURA here at Aberdeen) enhance the visibility of research undertaken by individuals, departments, research groups etc. here at the University. This can be important in attracting research students, research funding etc. 

  • since no library can possibly collect or provide access to all of the peer-reviewed scholarly literature, publishing research outputs via an OA model vastly increases all researchers’ access to the scholarly literature of their disciplines. 

Watch a YouTube video on the 'Benefits of Open Access'.

Enhance your visibility

There are many things you can do to enhance the visibility of your research:

  • Deposit your publications in the university repository (PURE)
  • Create an ORCID and link it to PURE
  • Publish Open Access
  • Produce a short video pitch on your main research topic
  • Blog and tweet selectively on your research topics
  • Share an early version of your paper as pre-print (ArXiv, bioRxiv,, Cognet, RepEc, SSRN, PeerJ Preprints etc.)
  • Share your data (FigShare, Dryad, UK Data Archive, Institutional Repository (PURE), etc.)
  • Use a stable and full author name and affiliation
  • Use your ORCID when publishing and applying for funding
  • Use research profiles to unambiguously link publications to you
  • Analyse who is using your research and through which channels
  • Avoid journals that are not well-indexed