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Understanding Open Access

What is open access?

Open access makes research outputs freely available to anyone who wishes to read them. Various types of open access allow for different levels of access, for example limiting the use to read only or allowing commercial use of the material.

Open access routes

There are two ways in which research can be made openly available. 

Green open access:

  • makes use of institutional (such as City Research Online) or subject repositories 
  • makes available the author's accepted manuscript
  • is free.

Gold open access:

  • makes available the published version of the publication through the publisher's website
  • requires a payment of the Article Processing Charge (APC), which may be covered by an Open Access Transformative Agreement.

Benefits of open access

Diagram showing the eight benefits of open access.


The benefits of open access (clockwise from top):

  • More exposure for your work
  • Practitioners can apply your findings
  • Higher citation rates
  • Your research can influence policy
  • The public can access your findings
  • Compliant with grant rules
  • Tax payers get value for money
  • Researchers in developing countries can see your work.

CC-BY Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown.