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Open Access Publishing: Introduction

Open Access Publishing

What is Open Access Publishing

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.

Green Open Access

Green Open Access

  • Publish in a journal and deposit   (“self-archiving”) articles (post print) into an institutional repository such as ARAN
  • Free for users to download
  • Post print i.e. the final manuscript of the publication, after peer review and editing has occurred, but before publication.
  • A text file without the publisher’s typesetting, formatting, pagination and logos
  • An embargo may apply
  • Publishers policies adhered to
  • Link to published version provided
  • 80% journals allow this 

Gold Open Access

Gold Open Access
  • Publisher makes article freely available on publication
  • Author pays an APC article processing charge
  • Some journals are wholly open access
  • Others are ‘hybrid’  - traditional subscription journals with optional OA article processing charge for individual articles
  • APCs for open access is often an eligible cost in a grant application
  • APCs - a flat charge, varies from journal to journal, covers the entire cost of the publication process e.g. peer-reviewing, editing, publishing, maintaining and archiving, and allows immediate access to the full text versions of the research articles


  • When raising a requisition in Agresso in relation to Article Processing Charges (APCs) or charges associated with Open Access publishing, please use the Product Code SERVE146 and GL Code 3078:

Find the open access version of papers

Increasingly scholarly articles are becoming available on an open access basis, often through institutional repositories like our own ARAN or through discipline-based repositories such as arXiv (Physical, Mathematical and Computer Sciences) or SocArXiv (Social Sciences) . The article version on these repositories will usually be the final draft post-refereeing (also known as the post-print), so the only difference to the published version is the absence of the publisher's type-setting, formatting, logos and pagination.  Several tools, services and browser plug-ins have been developed to help you find open access versions of journal articles:

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 by in any DOI link. it uses metadata from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE).

Google Scholar – searching for an article in Google Scholar will link you to both the paywalled version of the article and openly available versions if available.  Please see our guide to configuring Google so that it will recognise you as an NUI Galway registered user and will link you to subscribed content where the library has a subscription.

Kopernio – another browser plugin from Clarivate Analytics that will link you to open access versions of articles as well as library subscriptions.  It is necessary to register (for free) to use this plugin.

Open Access Button - a plugin for Chrome or Firefox that works similarly to Unpaywall – click on the button while you are viewing a pay-walled journal article and it will search for open access versions.  If it doesn’t find one, it will give you the option to have them ask the author to make the article available open access.  You can also search directly for a known article by DOI or Citation.

Unpaywall  - a browser plugin for Chrome or Firefox, which will display a green icon when you encounter a pay-wall for a journal article if an open access version of the article is available and will link you directly to it.

More information is available on the Library website about alternative routes to scholarly journal articles 


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 " 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"

"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 

"How open science creates better research"

"How open science creates better research" is a recent article by John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway and Dr. Elaine Toomey, School of Psychology, NUI Galway which explains why "Science can only progress by building on the research of others and open science aims to make this work accessible to all". Read more on RTÉ Brainstorm at