Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Access

Discover more about open access, main issues and concerns, copyright and other available publishing options

Publishing an Open Access book

Books, like journals, can also be published on an open access basis.

Here are various models under which OA books operate:

  1. Hybrid models – common to OA book publishers, these models provides free access to the OA editions and offers other editions for sale. It can include e-book (online or as PDF’s) where the content is freely accessible, but extra services or features are available for purchase.

  2. Institutionally supported publishers – most common to library-based or university presses. Support can be provided by direct financial subsidies, infrastructure or staff. This approach generally avoids the need to charge authors with an OA publication fee. Author publication charges – with this model, a publisher charges a publication or processing charge which allows the book to be made OA. The author’s funder usually pays this cost, whether this is via their institution or funding grant. This approach resembles the “Gold OA” publishing approach for journals, in which the author pays an APC (article processing charge).

  3. Library-based models – these models develop using the library acquisition budget as a source of support. An example would be a consortia approach such as Knowledge Unlatched. In this model University Libraries share the cost of supporting OA publishing charges for the selected Humanities publication, subsiding their access via a Creative Commons license. Libraries can also pay for ‘open access licensing’, which gives their clients access to “freemium” services within OA e-books. 
    Knowledge Unlatched authors Eugene Coyle, Richard Simmons and Anke Timmerman describe their open access publishing experience.

  4. Crowdfunding - this allows publishers to invite crowdfunding towards a level where a title (often a back title) is released OA.

  5. Green OA – the model is not often used. It allows a version of the book to be made open access, with the cost recovered from later printed editions.


Source: Ferwerda, E. (2014). Open access monograph business models. Insights, 27(S), 35-38. DOI:

Choose a publisher

To be eligible for HERDC books must be published by a commercial publisher or peer reviewed.  A commercial publisher is one for which the core business is producing books and distributing them for sale.

Print-on-demand, vanity press and companies that specialise primarily in the publication of theses are not considered commercial publishers. These publishers:

  • Exert little or no editorial control or peer-review process.
  • May refer to themselves as Joint Venture Publishers or Partnership Publishers.
  • Sometimes charge authors a fee for publishing their work.
  • Examples include VDM Publishing House and Lambert Academic Press (LAP).

See the Department of Education and Training HERDC website for further information.

Comply with ARC and NHMRC mandates

The Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) policies both require research outputs arising from ARC/NHMRC funded projects be made openly available within 12 months from the date of publication. The research outputs are required to be deposited into an open access institutional repository or in other acceptable locations (publisher's website, subject repositories etc). The policy also requires that publication metadata be deposited within an open access repository within 3 months from the date of publication. For more information, check out the tab to the left titled 'Comply with funders' mandates'.

This Policy compliance decision tree explains the steps that need to happen.

The espace team can further clarify or assist if you have any questions.

OA book costs

Learn more

A list of OA directories and publishers: