Open access resources

A guide to finding freely accessible resources and scholarly research

Your Librarian

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Tom Vasey
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This is a guide to finding freely accessible resources and scholarly research.

Open access material can be accessed and reused by anyone without restriction, recognising that open research has the possibility to improve knowledge, improve societies and improve lives. Open access has its origins in academic research, but the principles underpinning this publishing and distribution model have expanded to other areas including education and data. 

All library users are able to access open access resources, regardless of their membership status or where they live, for free. Find out how to find open access resources through the Library catalogue. 

What is open access?

Open access is a term used for scholarly research output which has been made freely accessible to the public without restrictions.

Just being freely available online does not necessarily make material open access. To qualify, the material must also be free to reuse. This usually means it has an open, or CC license. Open access material is free to access and free to reuse but you must still respect the terms of the license, such as attributing the original author or publisher of the work.

Many universities and researchers value the benefits of open access and endeavour to make their research output openly available. These outputs include: journal articles, books and book chapters, reports, theses, conference papers, and datasets. Also, in most cases Australian Government funded research must be made openly available within 12 months.

The above video produced by PhD Comics provides an introduction to the open access movement. You can find out more about open access through SPARC, a global coalition committed to making 'open' the default for research and education.

What is not open access?

While the majority of academic journals are available online, much of this content can only be accessed with a paid subscription; referred to as being behind a paywall.

The Library subscribes to a variety of subscription databases providing free access to many academic publications for Victorian residents with a Library membership. You can see what is available through the A-Z Database list and, if you are a Victorian resident, you can become a member to start accessing much of this content from home. 

Australian residents can also become members of the National Library of Australia and access their eresources

From our open access pictures collection

H2009.100/201 Gates to Free Library, Geelong, Novr. 1921

Gates to Free Library, Geelong, Novr. 1921, H2009.100/201 

H2001.227/32 Jerusalem, the Zion Gate

Jerusalem, the Zion Gate, H2001.227/32 

IAN21/12/87/supp/11 For some minutes she hesitated at the gate

For some minutes she hesitated at the gate, IAN21/12/87/supp/11