Open access makes research outputs (eg articles, data) accessible free of charge online and without subscription barriers, sometimes after an agreed period has elapsed since initial publication. It complements and extends the established practices and rigorous selection of publications in peer reviewed journals and elsewhere, operating in parallel with conventional publication channels.
The vast majority of journals and publisher's now permit the archiving (often referred to as self-archiving) of your final, peer-reviewed drafts in institutional repositories such as ARAN. This is the final version of your journal article after peer review and editing has occurred, but before publication. This is also known as a post-print and is usually a text file without the publisher's typesetting, formatting, pagination and logos. Publishers usually stipulate a delay of between 6 and 18 months following publication in their journal and that pre-prints or post-print versions are the only permissible versions to be used for this purpose.
Growing number of open access journals and most major publishers have open access options. There are two main routes to open access publishing, the Green and Gold routes. Green open access typically involves depositing the final manuscript version of your publication in a local repository such as ARAN at NUI Galway. Alternative approaches include deposit in a subject repository like PubMed Central or publication in any of more than 10,000 open access journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Gold open access operates on the basis of paying an Article Processing Charge (APC) to the publisher of a subscription journal so that your article is made available without charge to the reader.
NUI Galway supports Green Open Access which involves no costs on your part.
There are so many published papers now available freely through repositories and preprint servers, a new "free version detector" has emerged which enable you to search the world for free versions of published research with just one click.
DOAI (Digital Open Access Identifier) is an alternate DOI (Digital Object Identifier) resolver that takes you to a free version of the requested article, when available. To use it, replace dx.doi.org by doai.io in any DOI link. it uses metadata from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE).
Open Access Button can be installed on your toolbar to provide instant and legal access to paywalled articles. It is supported by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
Unpaywall button can be installed on your toolbar and used to find open access versions of the papers you require.
Peter Suber has been a leading advocate for open access since 2001 and has worked full time on issues of open access since 2003. Read his Open Access Overview which he says is "...an introduction to open access (OA) for those who are new to the concept. I hope it's short enough to read, long enough to be useful, and organized to let you skip around and dive into detail only where you want detail."
"The complicated business of publishing academic research" is a recent article by John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway in which he explains why " it's time to change the current system which generates big profits for publishers and denies free public access to research findings". Read more on RTÉ Brainstorm at https://www.rte.ie/eile/brainstorm/2018/0418/955452-the-complicated-business-of-publishing-academic-research/