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Open access explained

What is open access?

The aim of open access publishing is to make research available as widely as possible, with as few restrictions as possible, so that knowledge is easily accessible for all.

Open access publishing makes your research outputs freely available online. Your published research can then be downloaded, read and reused under open licensing conditions.

The University is committed to making the outputs of our research freely accessible so that the widest possible community can benefit from them. Read the University’s publication policy.

Scholarly publishing and open access

The scholarly publishing model is steadily shifting from pay-per-view subscriptions to fully open access. Funding bodies and the REF have mandated open access publication, and international initiatives such as Plan S are accelerating the shift.

We are in a transitional stage, where there is a complex mix of funder policies and multiple publishing models. There are different types of open access and different ways to make your research open access.

If these pages do not hold the information you need, please contact the Research Support Team, who can help you with all aspects of open access publishing.

Why should I care about open access?

The REF, funder and University policies all have open access requirements for research outputs.

There are many benefits of making your research open access through repositories and journal websites, both personally and for the global research community.

Personal benefits include:

  • increased visibility of publications
  • more citations and downloads than subscription articles
  • greater control over the integrity and re-use of your work
  • faster research dissemination
  • raised profile for author, funders and the University.

Benefits for society and global research community include:

  • access for all for the common good
  • minimises research duplication
  • can accelerate research and innovation.

Open access: views from Leeds

Researchers Dr Alaric Hall, Prof Helen Gleeson and Dr Robin Lovelace explain why they support open access publishing for research outputs: