Open Access Week 2023: Removing barriers to University research

Open Access Week 2023 (23-29 October) is an opportunity to celebrate the advances made in promoting unrestricted access to valuable research and scholarly content.  

One of the key pillars of Open Access (OA) publishing is ensuring that the global community has access to university research. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of Open Access publishing, with a particular focus on how the University of Sydney Library is enabling this through initiatives such as the Sydney eScholarship repository, and supporting Read and Publish agreements with major publishers. 

Read and Publish Agreements: Bridging the Gap 

The University of Sydney Library is enabling Open Access publishing through Read and Publish agreements with major publishers. These agreements represent a significant milestone in making scholarly content freely available.  

The Library supports agreements with publishers (Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, CSIRO, Oxford University Press and others) that cover the costs of both access to institutional subscription journal content and publication of new Open Access articles. All University staff and Higher Degree by Research Students are eligible to publish under the University’s Read and Publish Agreements. To access these agreements, corresponding authors must use their email address and list “The University of Sydney” as their primary affiliation when submitting their article manuscript for publication. 

The Benefits of Open Access Publishing 

Open Access publishing is founded on the principle that research should be freely accessible to anyone, anywhere. The benefits of Open Access publishing are widely known, and include wider accessibility of research to the community, and the benefits that flow from public engagement with research. Open Access has also shown to have a positive role in accelerating innovation and increasing the visibility and citation rates of published work. University of Sydney OA publications are cited at four times the global average, at approximately 32 citations per paper.1 

Sydney eScholarship: Empowering Open Access 

One of the easiest ways of making your research open is to upload it to Sydney eScholarship, the University’s open access repository. Sydney eScholarship provides a platform for uploading and sharing research and a central repository for storing and disseminating research outputs, including articles, theses, and datasets. Sydney eScholarship makes work available through Google Scholar and offers authors access to altmetrics, including views and downloads. 

Sydney eScholarship also includes University theses completed by Higher Degree by Research students at the University of Sydney, raising the visibility and accessibility of their research. 

Digital Collections: Making our Rare and Special Collections Open Access 

The Library is dedicated to digitising and making free and open to the public our rare books and special collections. Items from Virginia Woolf’s annotated personal copy of The Voyage Out, to medieval and early modern books, to photographs of the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction are now online for the first time, and available through Digital Collections, where they can be viewed and used by people from around the world.  

Support from the Library 

The Library supports a range of pathways towards a more equitable and open publishing landscape. To learn more about Open Access, the Read and Publish agreements, or how you or a group of researchers can take full advantage of the benefits of open publishing, get in touch with our Academic Liaison Librarian team. You can also check out our online resources on Open Access and the Strategic Publishing Toolkit

As we celebrate Open Access Week 2023, it is essential to recognise the tremendous benefits of Open Access research made possible by initiatives such as Sydney eScholarship and Read and Publish agreements, ensuring that valuable research is accessible to all.