Australia has been a digital information facilitator for decades now. It pioneered in professional domain based gateways to information on Internet. Australia in a way was one of the first countries to move towards organized information services using information and resources on Internet.

There is high level of awareness of Open Access in communities of information professionals. Approximately 43 universities in Australia have institutional repositories. The software used more are EPrints, DSpace, ARROW (a VTLS commercial front end to Fedora), and ProQuest Digital Commons (bepress). Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) reports a total of 53 OA repositories from Australia. As of April 2014, there are 31 OA policies registered in the  Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP) from various research organizations in Australia. During 2013-2014, four Australian universities adopted new repository mandates. Among these are Deakin University (18 Sep 2013), University of Newcastle (5 Dec 2013), University of Queensland (7 Feb 2014) and University of Wollongong (20 Mar 2014).

Open Access has also found policy level support.  For example the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) policy encourages open access for the research it funds. The council stated in its 2008 Funding Policy that in order to maximise the benefits from research they fund that researchers are encouraged to deposit their data in an electronic repository wherever possible. Since 2012, several new OA mandates have been put forward:

  • 24 Feb 2014: Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) adopted an OA policy.
  • 1 Jan 2013: The Australian research Council (ARC) requires any publication arising from ARC funded projects to be deposited into an OA institutional repository.

However, the establishment of institutional repositories and the implementation of Open Access have been delayed by a range of factors, including the availability of staff expertise, access to appropriate technical infrastructure, acceptance by the academic community and uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of repositories.

As of May 2015, there are 118 OA journals published in Australia which are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Enabling Environment

A high level of awareness of OA in academic and scientific communities acts as an enabler making information Open. A good example is the Group of Eight (Australia) - the Group of Eight vice-chancellors, representing Australia's pre-eminent research universities that records commitment to open access initiatives that will enhance global access to scholarly information for the public good. Information Infrastructure is quite good and with no major connectivity issues and hence Australian universities and institutes offer and share information and publications through Institutional repositories.

Potential Barriers

The establishment of institutional repositories and the implementation of Open Access have been delayed by a range of factors. Some of the studies show that the main factors include lack of appropriate technical networked infrastructure, uncertainty about the long-term sustainability of repositories and the lack of coordination from the Australian government. The lack of knowledge in copyright ownership and low acceptance in the academic community highlights the need for more OA awareness-raising campaigns.

Funding Mandate

The SHERPA/JULIET database currently lists 2 funders' OA policies:

(I) The Australian Research Council (ARC) under a section regarding Dissemination of research outputs states under funding rules that a reason must be provided if researchers do not deposit into a subject or institutional repository.

(II) The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) stated in its funding policy that in order to maximize the benefits from research they fund, that researchers are encouraged to deposit their data in an electronic repository wherever possible. 

National Library of Australia: has implemented 'Open Publish' to advance the Library's understanding of hosting an open access journal publishing service using Open Journal Systems.

Universities have also come forward to recognize and encourage OA publishing. The Macquarie University: has voted that research articles be deposited in the online Macquarie University repository, Research Online, after acceptance for publication.

Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said he intended to implement reforms aimed at "unlocking public information and content, including the results of publicly funded research", following a review of the country's innovation.

Past and Future OA related Activities

  • Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) hosted four Webinars:
    • Open Access 101, 21 Oct 2014
    • Funder Open Access Policies and Requirements, 22 Oct 2014
    • Understanding Publisher Agreement, 22 Oct 2014
    • Changing Publishing Landscape, 23 Oct 2014
    • JCDL 2010 and ICADL - Digital Libraries - 10 years past, 10 years forward, a 2020 Vision. Gold Coast, Australia, June 21-25, 2010.
  • Social Collections, New Metrics, Maps and Other Australian Oddities. A seminar by Sebastian Chan. OA is among the topics. San Francisco, August 28, 2009.
  • Open Access and Research Conference - held in Brisbane from the 24th to the 25th of September to discuss ways to optimize access to and reuse of research especially that which is publicly funded.
  • A two-day Public Knowledge Project Workshop December 4 and 5, 2008 at the University of Sydney.
  • The RQF Explained: Information Management and Repository Needs for the RQF. (sponsored by Australia's APSR, ARROW and Department of Education, Science and Training). Sydney and Melbourne, February 13 and 15, 2007
  • Improving Access to Australian Publicly Funded Research - Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum). Canberra, July 16, 2007
  • Open Repositories 2006. (Sponsored by Australia's APSR, the ARROW project, MAMS, Macquarie University, and the University of Technology Sydney). Sydney, January 31 - February 3, 2006
  • Open Access and Scholarly Communication Futures. (a CAVAL training workshop conducted by Colin Steele). Victoria, Australia, August 12, 2005. The course also offered in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth,Adelaide, Auckland and in Wellington
  • Open Access, Open Archives and Open Source. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum and the Australian Academy of the Humanities). Sydney, September 27, 2005
  • Australia ETD 2005 8th International Symposium on Electronic Theses & Dissertations. [1]. Sydney, September 28-30, 2005
  • Global Access Project (GAP) Inaugural International Forum. Macquarie University, September 29-30, 2005
  • Australian Research Online: A CAUL Forum on Research Repositories. Melbourne, November 28, 2005
  • Australian Government Agencies Publications access seminar. Canberra, March 19, 2004
  • Creative Licensing to Expand Australia's Public Domain. A Symposium. Sydney, May 11, 2004
  • Changing Research Practices in the Digital Information and Communication Environment. (sponsored by Australia's National Scholarly Communications Forum). Canberra, June, 2004
  • From Creator to Consumer in A Digital Age: International Conference on The Future of the Book. Cairns, Australia, April 22-24, 2003

Open Science and Open Data Related Events

July 2016From big data to big reach: the future of research

The seminar examined what online research and big data means for academics, how we can do it better, and the future of our research habits and practices.

May 2015Open Data and Digital Services: Foundations for a New Information Economy

This event covered subjects related to open data and digital Government service delivery.


  • Daly, R., & Organ, M., (2009). Research online: digital Commons as a publishing platform at the University of Wollonong, Australia. Serials Review, 35(3), 149-153.
  • Kennan, M.A., & Kingsley, D.A. (2009, February). The State of the Nation: a snapshot of Australian Institutional Repositories. First Monday, 14(2)
  • Shipp, J., (2006).  Open access in Australia. In N. Jacobs (Ed.), Open access: key strategic, technical and economic aspects. London: Chandos Publishing.



The contentment of this page is available under CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0.

Back to top