Open Access

An introduction to open access.

Open Access Week

Intl Open Access Week

Did you know that there is an international open access week? This year it's October 21-27, 2024. Stay tuned for more details about the Open Access Week later.


Pre-print: Author-created version first submitted to the publisher, before peer review

Post-print: Author-created final version after peer review but before the final PDF version of the article prepared by the publisher, also known as Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM). 

Open Access Defined

Open Access is free, unrestricted, online access to scientific and scholarly research. 

For more information, refer to Peter Suber's Open Access Overview. See also Open Access (free e-book by Peter Suber).

Open Access Publishing Options

 Gold Open Access publishing: authors publish their works in an open access journal to make their articles openly accessible via the journal or publisher's website. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed Central. An open access journal may or may not charge publishing fee or article processing fee (APC). See the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to locate open access journals. More than two-thirds of journals listed in the DOAJ do not charge a fee. 

 Green Open Access publishing refers to the practice of self-archiving published or pre-publication works for free public use. Authors provide  public access to preprints or post-prints (with publisher permission) of their articles by depositing them in an institutional repository or a subject repository such as arXiv. Use Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) to identify open access repositories.   

Sherpa/Romeo has a list of green open access publishers. Use the Sherpa RoMEO tool and consult the journal's website to discover self-archiving policies of individual journals.

Hybrid Open Access publishing (sometimes called Paid Open Access): An option now offered by many traditional publishers where an author can pay a publication fee (or processing fee) to make their article openly accessible in the journal. As part of our consortia benefit, TWU authors are eligible for a 40% discount on APCs when they publish in pure gold open access journals with SAGE journals. See the box at the lower left corner of this page for details.

Open Access Explained (by PhD Comics)

Tri-Agency's Open Access Policy on Publications

On February 27, 2015, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) announced a new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, which requires federal funded peer-reviewed research to be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. 

For research funded in whole or in part by CIHR, this policy applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward. While not required, researchers holding grants that were awarded prior to January 1, 2008 are encouraged to adhere to the requirements of this policy. The same policy applies to all grants funded in whole or in part by NSERC or SSHERC awarded May 1, 2015 and onward. 

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has developed a Quick Answers Guide to help address some questions about this policy.

How to fulfill this mandate?

  • Green Open Access option: Deposit grant recipients' final and peer-reviewed manuscript (usually the post-print) into an institutional or disciplinary repository.
  • Gold or Hybrid Open Access option: Publish in a reputable open access journal or a traditional journal that offers immediate open access to the article. Some journals charge publishing fees or article processing fees, and this cost is an eligible expense under the Use of Grant Funds. Note: be aware of predatory open access publishers and journals. See this guide for information on how to identify predatory open access publishing.

Benefits of Open Access

  • Wider dissemination and higher impact of scholarship: open access publishing model helps achieve research discovery's full potential by removing price barriers for people to access educational materials.
  • Facilitating scholarly communications: scholars are more likely to read, reference and critique others' works and engage in scholarly communication that will help advance sciences and scholarship.
  • Return on the public's investment in taxpayer-funded research. See Tri-Agency's Open Access Policy on Publications section to the right for details.

For more information on the benefits of open access, please read “Why Open Access to Research and Scholarship?” by John Willinsky. 

See also Benefits of Open Access video by BioMed Central.