SOAS University of London

SOAS Library

Why Open Access?

The importance of Open Access in academic publishing has been growing for over a decade both in the UK and internationally. Put simply Open Access involves making research outputs available online so that anybody can access them freely without having to pay a subscription or fee for access. There are increasingly compelling reasons to engage with and do Open Access.

  • Ensures You Meet Your Funder and SOAS Requirements

    Major funders of research - Research England, UKRI, European Research Council have introduced, and will continue to extend, expectations that researchers commit to making their research outputs available freely to all through Open Access. The result is that a growing amount of research funded by the public is being made publicly available. It also means that as a researcher you now need to do Open Access in order to submit your outputs to the REF or if you want to benefit from external funding for your research.

  • Enables a Bigger Audience to Read and Use Your Research

    When you are working in universities in the UK that pay for online access to journals and books and gives access at a click, it is easy to forget that many researchers, practitioners e.g. at NGOs and students may not have free access.

    Making your research Open Access will ensure your work can be read and used by:

    • your research partners across the world
    • policy makers and practitioners in your field
    • journalists and other media outlets
    • potential undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • Makes Your Research More Visible Online and in Social Media

    When you make your outputs available Open Access either through Open Access publishing or in SOAS Research Online or other online platforms it provides easy access to anyone online:

    • readers anywhere can click straight through from Google and other search engines without going through a publisher paywall
    • SOAS Research Online items are indexed and found through Google and Google Scholar as well as automatically fed through to Open Access databases such as Core
    • items added with full-text to SOAS Research Online are automatically linked with SOAS Twitter and Facebook updates
    • many publishers now allow versions of your publications to be available Open Access before they are officially published meaning your research can be read and used much sooner after you have written it
  • Apply to use the SOAS Publications Fund to Make Your Research Open Access

    In March 2018 SOAS launched the Open Access Publications Fund to support our research staff and PhD researchers in making their research outputs as freely and openly available as quickly as possible. A wide range of publications and initiatives which support Open Access are within the scope of the fund, including both forthcoming and published items.

    If you have any questions about the use of the fund or the application process please email