Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Open access publishing

Open access means that published research is freely available online and in many cases (depending on licence) available for re-use. Benefits to open access includes broadening worldwide access to your research and potential increase in citations.

There are two routes to open access publishing, known as gold and green open access.

Gold Open Access

The Gold Open Access publishing model involves the authors paying for article publication (article processing fee or APC) in a journal but articles are then freely available to readers with no additional subscription charges. Providing the appropriate licence has been agreed, the article may then be shared and re-used. Many journals now offer complete or partial OA or hybrid publishing options. BioMed Central is a major OA publisher in medicine and healthcare. See the Directory of Open Access Journals to identify journals using this model.

Green Open Access

Also known as self-archiving, the Green Open Access route satisfies open access mandates by funding agencies such as SFI, HRB and HEA. This models allows you to deposit a version of your article in an institutional repository such as e-publications@RCSI, the RCSI's publications repository. Benefits also include:

  • preserves your work publicly and indexes on Google Scholar
  • categorises RCSI research output

Permitted versions can be the final published pdf (if it has been published via the gold route), the original submitted manuscript or the accepted manuscript which incorporates changes from the peer review process. The e-publications team are happy to advise you on publisher permissions – contact us at

More information

Peter Suber, Director, Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication provides a good introduction to Open Access. The OpCit Project has tracked studies on whether there is a citation advantage to publishing open access. Out of 70 studies, 46 found a citation advantage. Details of the studies and a summary of results available here. The project was carried out by SPARC Europe, a group of academic libraries and research institutes, who promote open scholarship in Europe.


For help with publishing open access or advice on depositing your research in the RCSI repository, contact Grainne McCabe, Scholarly Communications & Research Support Officer.