3. Why Open Access and How is it Achieved?

The 8-minute video below by PHD Comics summarises in a pragmatic manner why Open Access to scholarly literature is beneficial to all:

Open Access to scholarly publications benefits everyone:

  • It is free
  • It gives immediate unrestricted access to research output
  • It raises the profile of both the researchers and their work
  • It improves scholarly communication and generates collaboration
  • It allows researchers to build upon each others’ work

In short, research begets research, which ultimately benefits the whole community.

Open Access to scholarly publishing is provided in two ways:

Gold Open Access


Authors (their funder or institution) may pay to publish in a fully or *hybrid open access journal that provides immediate free public access to the article on the publisher's website.  Examples of Open Access publishers are BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science.

*Hybrid journals are not fully open access but contain open access articles that authors have paid for in order to make them freely accessible to the public.

Green Open Access


Authors publish in a journal that permits them to self-archive the accepted version of the article, generally after an embargo period, for free public use in their institutional repository (e.g. QMRO) or a subject repository such as PubMed Central or arXiv.  What has to be deposited is the peer-reviewed final version of the paper or, if allowed by the publisher, the publisher's version with all the formatting.