Skip to Main Content

Open Access: a guide for researchers

Open Access Journals

A guide for Academics interested in Open Access and identifying how to make their research available via Open Access

What are Open Access Journals?

There are different ways in which Journal Articles are made available as Open Access

  1. Gold OA– Full access to all the articles on the journal website, under a creative commons or similar license. An Article Processing Charge (APC) is usually paid by the author (or other funder).
  2. Hybrid – a subscription journal where the publisher allows authors to pay an  APC to make individual articles open access. It may also be waived if there is an OA agreement in place with the publisher by your institution. Some articles in the Journal will be Open Access and some behind a paywall.
  3. Diamond/Platinum- journals that publish OA but do not charge APCs. These are funded by institutions, advertising, philanthropy, etc.
  4. Bronze - journals that are free to read online but do not have a license - they are not generally available for reuse.
  5. Green – refers to self-archiving (republishing) generally of the pre or post-print of articles in repositories.  This will need to conform to the copyright restrictions of the publisher of the article.

Open Access policies of the various publishers can be checked on the Sherpa Romeo Website 


MU Research Archive (MURAL)


Open Access Books

  • DOAB - Directory of Open Access Books: A directory of academic peer-reviewed books from a range of publishers.
  • InTech Books: One of the largest open access collection of books in the fields of Science, Technology and Medicine.
  • OAPEN: A collection of freely accessible academic books, mainly in the areas of humanities and social sciences.
  • Open Book Publishers: Publishes monographs and textbooks which are freely available to read online.

Directories of Open Access Repositories

Search Engines

This is the most common way of locating open access materials. As shown in the example below there will often be two links, one to the freely-available PDF version in an open access repository and the other to the published version, access to which will be dependent on a subscription:


The following are specific open access search engines:

Pre Print Archives