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Open Access FAQ

  • What is 'Open Access'?

    'Open Access' is the term applied to published research made available in online format for no charge to the reader.

  • Who is paying if not the reader?

    Generally either the institution that the author is a member of, or a funding body such as the ARC in Australia or the HEFCE in Britain. In return the research is disseminated far more widely than in a print edition.

  • Does the author get paid?

    Yes, authors of Open Access works are usually salaried academics at the institution who pays for the publication.

  • What is the advantage over traditional sales-based publishing?

    In short, impact. An average academic title, worldwide in 2007, sold no more than 350 copies. In contrast, a book made available online can find tens of thousands of readers, and no longer restricted to just a few countries.

  • Why use a publisher at all for an Open Access work?

    The imprint of a credible publisher means that the book has been through a selection process, including being peer-reviewed, edited and designed professionally.

  • Is it Open Access publishing if I just upload to a repository?

    Yes, this has been called the 'Green Model', but it also means that the document is a manuscript that has not been peer-reviewed, edited or typeset. This method can nevertheless be very useful in fast-evolving disciplines such as Computer Sciences and Medicine.  Or any discipline really, to get research out there.

  • Does copyright apply to an Open Access work?

    Absolutely. The international standard for Open Access works is now to offer a Creative Commons licence, which protects the copyright but can allow a variety of freedoms that did not exist with print works.

  • Creative Commons licences?

    Yes, there are six major categories. The one offering the most freedom is 'CC-BY', which allows readers not just to read a work, but also to turn it into a new work of their own, even to make money on it, as long as they attribute the original author/s. Other licences vary on the freedoms available, go to for the details.

  • Do people cite Open Access works?

    Yes, for example, University of Adelaide Press works have up to 130 citations in journals and books.

  • Is Open Access going to replace academic book print editions?

    Not at all. But some books in specialised areas with limited print sale potential can still be published OA and therefore be accessible where they might in earlier times not been published at all.

(Some) Open Access Book Resources


ANU Press - 100s of recent and new free books

Download free publications by ANU academics
All disciplines in Humanities and Social Sciences.


Feel free to browse the University of Adelaide Library’s collection of free public domain books. The collection includes classic works of Literature, Philosophy, Science, and History.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

Over 10,000 free books from world-wide scholarly publishers

Massive resource of selected scholarly titles.


Broad range of free books from mainly European scholarly publishers.


University of Adelaide Press
Mailing Address

University of Adelaide Press
Barr Smith Library
The University of Adelaide 
South Australia 5005

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Phone: +61 8 8313 4064 
Fax: +61 8 8313 4369


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