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About Open Access

Making scholarly publications available on "Open Access" allows them to be freely accessed by anyone in the world using an Internet connection. In doing so, the impact of the work is maximised:

  • Potential readership of Open Access material is far greater than that for publications where the full-text is restricted to subscribers
  • Details of contents can be read by specialised web harvesters
  • Details of contents also appear in normal search engines like Google, Google Scholar, Yahoo, etc.

Access = Impact…

Evidence shows that making articles available through Open Access increases the number of readers and significantly increases citations to the article - in some fields increasing citations by 300%. Countries such as Australia and the Netherlands are using Open Access repositories to effectively showcase their university-based research and enhance its international impact.

Open Access is Not…

  • Open Access does not affect peer-review; articles are peer-reviewed and published in journals in the normal way
  • Open Access repositories are not a replacement for journal publication. They complement the traditional scholarly communication model by supplementing rather than replacing journals. Authors can continue to choose their publishers freely and at the same time deposit their papers in Open Access repositories (subject to their publishers policies - over 90% of publishers allow some version of a paper published by them to be made available on Open Access)
  • Open Access does not facilitate plagiarism: if anything, Open Access serves to reduce plagiarism. When material is freely available the chance that plagiarism is recognised and exposed is that much higher. In general, software such as TurnItIn (available free to Trinity College Dublin staff) can be useful if plagiarism is a concern
  • Open Access repositories do not affect rights as regards copyright. When depositing material in Trinity’s Access to Research Archive, researchers merely licence Trinity College Dublin to distribute the work. The copyright remains with the original holder, be it author or publisher.

Why Open Access is Needed…

Over 24,000 scholarly journals are currently published. No institution (or even a consortium like IReL) can afford to subscribe to all of them. Even if a journal is available on-line, this does not mean it is freely available: university libraries pay large subscriptions to allow their academics to easily access journal materials on-line. In the developing world, journal subscription prices mean that many institutions simply cannot afford access to up-to-date research. On a national level, most research is publicly funded and yet the general public cannot get access to the results that have been paid for by their taxes.

In Good Company: Open Access Repositories Worldwide

Currently over 750 Open Access repositories have been established worldwide. Some are part of national federations of repositories designed to maximise a nation’s research impact. A list of repositories is available through the ROAR list or the OpenDOAR directory.

Funders' Grant Rules

A number of research funders now have rules in place which make deposit in an open access repository a requirement of any grant. Other funders make a strong recommendation for deposit, or may make additional funds available for publication in an Open Access journal, or in one of the hybrid journals set up by some publishers.

A British-based service called JULIET provides a checklist of funding agencies and their open access requirements for research outputs.

Journals' Copyright Rules

There may be copyright restrictions in making your publications freely available. Although the majority of publisher and journals allow authors to archive their work under certain conditions, some publishers are more restrictive.

Typically, when an article is published, the author assigns copyright, or gives a copyright license to the publisher. Depending on the particular agreement that is signed, the author retains more or less rights to use the article. Some agreements forbid the author from photocopying the article, using it in teaching, or mounting it on-line. Other agreements are more liberal and allow the author to retain rights to use the article as they wish.

The SHERPA RoMEO service lists publishers and their associated copyright agreements. Use the RoMEO service to search for a publisher, or a particular journal, to see what rights are assigned to publishers and which are retained by the author.


The TARA (Trinity’s Access to Research Archive) Institutional Repository is designed to allow researchers to archive their own work. It is generally a simple process and should take no more than ten minutes; or, it can be undertaken by Research Information Systems and Services personnel. See Getting Content into TARA for more details.