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Library Research Support: Open Research: Benefits of open access

This guide is intended to provide advice and support on open access research, including guidance around Durham Research Online (DRO), open access publishing, research data management and related topics.

Benefits for you as a researcher

Open Access publishing aims to maximise the potential impact of your research by:

  • Increasing the visibility of your research outside of the academic community
  • Expanding the access to peer-reviewed research findings to all researchers worldwide.
  • Providing access to a broader audience including commercial, public sector, third sector and international readers who may not otherwise have had access.
  • Maximising the potential for collaboration and impact generating activities resulting from a larger and wider readership.
  • Boosting citation potential where accessible research is more widely read and the rights of authors are properly acknowledged and cited.

Institutions may also benefit from an enhanced reputation as their research becomes more visible within the academic community and beyond.



Why is open access important?

There are several arguments as to why Open Access is important.

  • Public Funding: If research is publicly funded, the outputs that the research generates should be open to all of society to reap the potential benefits. If locked away behind a commercial publisher's pay-wall further public money may then have to be spent to access it.
  • Financial: Universities pay large subscriptions to provide access to journal materials online. Large increases in journal prices, often many times the rate of inflation, have meant that most university libraries can no longer afford subscriptions to all of the journals that their academics and researchers need for their work. Opening up access offers an opportunity to re-dress the balance, boosting access to research, the potential for impact generation and the redirection of research funding directly into research activities.
  • Technology: Many aspects of the traditional publishing model have been outdated by the internet and the ability to access, share and use information freely. Open Access offers new opportunities for collaboration and research unrestricted by having to pay to access the research already available.
  • Funder compliance: Many funders (including the UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission) require that research outputs are made open access as a condition of funding. Research England has an Open Access policy for certain research outputs submitted for the REF . The European Commission requires Open Access for Horizon 2020 funded outputs.