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Approved bySenate
Date Guideline Took Effect30 August 2017
Last approved revision 
SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
Responsible officerSenior Research and Policy Analyst, Research and Enterprise

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


To provide practical guidance as to how the Open Access Policy may be put into practice.

Organisational scope

Applies to all staff and students who produce scholarly outputs or other works with high potential for consumption and reuse by the public or other researchers. Predominantly this will apply to peer-reviewed research publications, particularly journal articles, but may extend to any element of the academic endeavour, including theses, books, book chapters, monographs, conference proceedings and other works, such as software, data, teaching resources, information sheets or other written outputs.


Academic Networking Sites
Commercial services designed for researchers to share research and interests, such as ResearchGate,, SSRN and the like.
Article Processing Charge (APC)
A fee paid to a publisher to ensure free access to a work.
Green Open Access (Green OA)
Where a version of a work is made freely available via an institutional research repository or a similar repository, such as a discipline-specific archive or pre-print server. Commonly the version of a work used in Green OA is a pre-publication version, such as either a first complete draft submitted for peer review (sometimes known as a “pre-print”) or a version that incorporates changes based on feedback from peer-reviewers (a “post-print” or “Author's Accepted Manuscript”). However, some publishers' policies allow the final version of record to be deposited, often after the observance of an embargo period.
Gold Open Access (Gold OA)
Where a work is made freely available immediately upon publication, often involving the payment of an APC by the author.
Hybrid Journal
A variant of Gold Open Access where the publisher of a subscription journal makes individual articles open access provided the author pays a fee ( APC ) to cover the cost of the publishing service. That article will be openly accessible but others in the same publication will not unless other authors also pay the APC .
Open Access (OA)
Open access scholarship is digital, online, free of charge to access, and free of most copyright, financial and technical barriers to access and reuse, provided proper attribution is given to the authors. It permits anyone to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to work, index it, parse it as data to software, or use it for any lawful purpose.
OUR Archive
The Otago University Research Repository – see the Institutional Research Repository Policy


  1. Preamble

    1. Open Access is one element to be considered alongside many others in an overall research and publication strategy. Aligning with the University's Open Access Policy, the following guidelines are intended to provide staff and students with a practical framework within which to achieve the maximum reach and impact of their scholarly work.
    2. These guidelines may be applied to any element of the scholarly work of staff and students, though it is expected that they will apply mainly to research publications, i.e. scholarly articles or monographs. However, other work to which these guidelines may apply includes research data, teaching resources, conference papers, software, and so on.
  2. Consider potential issues relating to open access at the outset of research

    1. For some researchers, releasing information and data from their research openly is a fundamental principle and they will build this thinking into their project planning, research data management, ethics application, permissions sought from participants, and so on. However, all researchers need to be aware that, in certain disciplines, funders and publishers are increasingly requiring that research outputs and data be made available openly as part of the research publication. Sometimes this practice is 'encouraged' rather than required but, in some cases, it is mandated as a condition of publication. In other cases, the best publication venue for research may be Open Access-only, in which case APC cost may be a factor that should be considered from the outset.
    2. Alongside any considerations about intellectual property, openness should be considered when contracts or MOU s are developed at the beginning of a research project. For example, for researchers doing work with a high level of public utility or interest it may be important to ensure that contractual terms will allow dissemination of research outputs in the ways researchers need or want, especially where that research is funded from outside the university or is a collaboration with other groups or organisations.
  3. Open Access and ethics

    1. In terms of research ethics, where there is a possibility that research outputs may be made available openly (including anonymised data) best practice dictates that it is incumbent upon the researcher to make human participants aware of this possibility. Any significant change that is made in a research project that falls outside the parameters set in the ethics approval process may require new approval being sought from participants. High standards of ethical behaviour in the treatment of research data and other materials is not affected in any way by these guidelines and such considerations may preclude the availability of making research outputs open.
    2. Notwithstanding the above, release of data and other outputs is entirely possible where researchers follow best practices for cleansing and anonymisation of data and other information gathered as part of research.
  4. Publication of research outputs

    1. Retain rights in formal publications
      Staff and students are encouraged to retain rights that allow deposit or other open use of their work; transfer to a publisher should only be done where necessary. Specifically, authors should favour publishing agreements where they retain copyright in their work and simply provide a licence to publish to the publisher. Where a copyright transfer is the option provided by a publisher the following considerations should be made, bearing in mind that contracts are negotiable:
      1. Do I have a licence to use my work as I wish? For example: Can I deposit it in a repository? Can I share it on my own or departmental website or via social media? Can I use it for teaching students? Can I develop it further and incorporate it into future publications or use it in my own future research?
      2. Is there an embargo period?
      3. Can I have rights revert to me after a period of time defined in the agreement?
      4. Will other people be able to access and/or use my work in ways that I would like, e.g. community groups, other researchers, students, government agencies?
    2. Use stable, non-commercial repositories for Green OA
      “Green OA ” is where a version of a work is made freely available via an institutional research repository or a similar repository, such as a discipline-specific archive or pre-print server. Very often the version of a work used in the Green method is a pre-publication version, such as either an initial draft (sometimes known as a “pre-print”) or version that incorporates changes based on feedback from peer-reviewers (a “post-print” or “Author's Accepted Manuscript”). However, some publishers' policies allow the final version of record to be deposited, often after the observance of an embargo period.
    3. General points:
      1. Stable, non-commercial repositories should be favoured. OUR Archive should be the default for most Otago authors, since the University is committed to maintaining this resource; it is also indexed by Google Scholar and other indexing services. However, specific repositories may be more appropriate where this is the norm in a particular discipline.
      2. Staff and students are responsible for ensuring they comply with publishers', funders' or other requirements to ensure deposit in OUR Archive or other suitable repository of research outputs is legal. This may include stipulations about which version (if any) of a work may be archived or embargo periods that must be observed before a work is made openly accessible. The Sherpa/Romeo database provides information on publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. Sherpa/Juliet provides the same for research funders' policies.
      3. Commercial academic networking sites are widely-used and offer a popular means of providing access to research outputs for people who do not have access through institutional subscriptions. It is recommended that these be used in addition to, rather than instead of, stable non-commercial repositories since commercial sites have proven to be unstable in the long-term and may be bought out by competing interests.
  5. Gold Open Access

    1. Evaluation of Gold OA publishers
      As with any kind of publication, authors must evaluate the quality of a potential venue for publishing their work. This can have important consequences for career, reputation and promotion. Most scholars will be familiar with attempts by “predatory publishers” to attract researchers into paying for publication, often in publications without any peer review or editorial services. Such services are better thought of simply as low quality publications, just as there are low quality non-open access publications. Regardless of the business model of a publisher, due diligence should be exercised in evaluating a possible venue for publication. Consult the checklist available at for evaluating the practices and policies of a journal.
    2. Free Gold OA versus APC -funded OA
      There are many considerations for a researcher when deciding where to submit work for publication. All things being equal, an open access pathway should be preferred to a closed one. As outlined in the Open Access Policy, free Gold OA should be favoured where this is an option and once other factors are considered.
    3. General points:
      1. Gold OA does not always involve payment of a fee or APC . Check the journal's policy on waivers. Many journals and publishers offer waiver of APC s, for example where authors have contributed to peer-review or editorial work.
      2. Paying for Gold OA is a decision for the relevant cost centre, where factors other than access to the work determine that paid Open Access is the best choice, such as publication in an APC -only journal with a high reputation.
      3. Hybrid OA – where a publication is not open access but offers the option to make individual pieces of work freely accessible for a fee – is, generally speaking, not supported by the institution as it is likely that the University already pays a subscription fee for access to the journal. Nevertheless there may be occasions where other factors determine that Hybrid OA is appropriate, such as a high-impact piece of work that may garner significant media and public interest.
      4. Resources:
  6. Other materials

    1. For teaching materials, staff should always consider how their work might be licensed. By default, all-rights-reserved will apply to their work but many staff do no label their teaching materials in any way at all. Doing so – whether this is with an all-rights-reserved notice or an open access licence or something else – helps their students to understand what they may or may not do with material and encourages them to treat others' intellectual property with due respect.
  7. Licensing

    1. The Creative Commons Attribution licence is the licence that facilitates the widest possible reuse, provided proper attribution is given. The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group provides a factsheet on Open Licences.
      AOASG Factsheet no. 2: Open Licences (PDF)
    2. Staff and students must ensure that applying an open access licence is appropriate, i.e. they cannot apply an open licence to third party copyright materials that are not open to use. Such work may be included but must be specifically marked as the copyright of others. Similarly staff and students are responsible for ensuring that they follow licences imposed by others, e.g. proper attribution or share-alike reuse, if reusing material made available by others under an open licence.
    3. It is also important to comply with funder and government agency requirements to make results of work publicly available where appropriate.
  8. Formats

    1. Staff and students who wish to release work openly in digital format should consider use of non-proprietary formats so as to facilitate reuse by people but also machine-readability for search engines and other automated processes.
    2. Common formats include Comma-separated Value (.csv) for spreadsheet or tabular information or Extensible Markup Language (.xml) for written documents. Where proprietary formats are commonly-used, such as Portable Document Format (.pdf), making additional copies available in alternative formats may help to ensure maximum accessibility and potential for reuse.
    3. NZGOAL provides advice on choice of file formats for many different types of data and information.
      NZGOAL Guidance note 2: File formats
  9. Resources

    1. The University of Otago Library provides useful information about Research Publishing and Impact.
    2. NZGOAL – the New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (Version 2).
    3. provides a useful checklist of things to evaluate the practices and policies of a journal.
    4. The Sherpa/Romeo database provides information on publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. Sherpa/Juliet provides the same for research funders' policies.
    5. Committee on Publication Ethics ( COPE ).

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Manager, Copyright & Open Access

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