• Printable version ARC Open Access Policy—Version 2017.1 – PDF Format (731KB) – Word Format (251KB)

1. The Australian Research Council

The Australian Research Council (ARC) is a Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government. The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

The ARC funds research and researchers under the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP). The NCGP consists of two elements—Discovery and Linkage. Within these elements are a range of schemes structured to provide a pathway of incentives for researchers to build the scope and scale of their work and collaborative partnerships. The majority of funding decisions under the NCGP are made on the basis of peer review.

The ARC evaluates the quality of research undertaken in higher education institutions through the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program. ERA is an established evaluation framework that identifies research excellence in Australian higher education institutions by comparing Australia’s research effort against international benchmarks. ERA assesses quality using a combination of indicators and expert review by research evaluation committees.

The ARC is also responsible for developing and implementing an Engagement and Impact assessment, announced by the Australian Government in December 2015 as part of the National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA), which will assess the engagement of researchers with end-users, and show how universities are translating their research into economic, social, environmental and other impacts.

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2. Definitions

Administering Organisation – is the organisation responsible for administering the ARC Funded Research Project, Fellowship or Award.

ARC Funded Research – is research funded, either wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001.

DOI – stands for Digital Object Identifier, which is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object, such as an article or a report, which is issued by the DOI Foundation and its registered agencies.

Final Report – a report submitted at the completion of an ARC Funded Research Project, Fellowship or Award as required by the applicable ARC Funding Agreement.

Institutional Repository – an online publicly accessible repository hosted at an academic institution, in which publicly funded Research Outputs and the Metadata for those Outputs can be stored and preserved.

Metadata – refers to specific data/information relating to a Research Output, including author(s), publisher(s) or equivalent, funding information, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), licence associated with an item, and other relevant details that provide for location, verification and potential reuse of the Research Output. See section 6.3.2 for more detail.

Open Access or Openly Accessible – refers to the availability of Research Outputs via the internet, such that any user can find, freely access, read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, link, crawl, mine and otherwise use and reuse the Research Outputs both manually and using automated tools. Any use or reuse is subject to full and proper attribution, and usually will have an appropriate licence, such as any of the options available through the Creative Commons suite of licences, and should not infringe any copyrights to third-party material included in the Research Output.

ORCID – Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID is a persistent digital identifier for an individual researcher issued by ORCID.

Project / Fellowship / Award – as used in the applicable ARC Funding Agreement.

Project Leader / Fellow / Awardee / Director – as used in the applicable ARC Funding Agreement.

Pre-print – the original version of a manuscript as it is submitted to a journal or other publication. While the author(s) may have sought help from their colleagues in selecting data analysis techniques, improving manuscript clarity, and correcting grammar, the Pre-print has not been through a process of peer review.

Post-print or “Author accepted manuscript” – a document that has been through the peer review process and addressed reviewer’s comments. It is the final version of the paper before it is sent off to the journal for Publication.

Published / Publication – the form of public presentation of a Research Output specific to the relevant discipline.

Publisher’s Version/PDF – this is the version of record that is Published on the publisher’s website. It will have been professionally typeset by the publisher.

Publication Date – refers to the official date of Publication of the Research Output (not acceptance of the Research Output for publication or pre-publication i.e. Pre-print) or, for non-traditional Research Outputs, the date of public presentation of the Research Output.

Research – the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings. This could include synthesis and analysis of previous research to the extent that it is new and creative.

Research Output – includes all products (excluding Pre-prints) of an ARC-funded research Project that meet the definition of Research.

For the purposes of this policy, Research Outputs do not include research data and research data outputs. Research data arising from ARC Funded Research are addressed separately under the ARC’s data management requirements. Further information is available on the Research Data Management page.

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3. Purpose

Both researchers and the broader community stand to benefit from the knowledge produced through publicly funded research. The ARC is committed to maximising this benefit by ensuring that the findings of ARC Funded Research are disseminated as widely as possible, in the most effective manner and at the earliest opportunity, taking into account any restrictions relating to privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property or cultural sensitivities.

The purpose of the ARC Open Access Policy is, therefore, to ensure that Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research are made Openly Accessible and the Metadata for those Outputs are made available to the public.

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4. Scope

The ARC Open Access Policy applies to all Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research and their Metadata. For the purposes of this policy, Research Outputs do not include research data and research data outputs.

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5. Commencement

The ARC Open Access Policy commenced on 1 January 2013.

The policy applies to all ARC Funded Research supported under these Funding Rules and Funding Agreements made since 1 January 2013.

The policy does not apply to ARC Funded Research supported under Funding Rules and Funding Agreement released before 1 January 2013.

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6. Policy Requirements

6.1 Summary

Any Research Output arising from ARC Funded Research must be made Openly Accessible within a twelve (12) month period from the Publication Date.

In cases where this requirement cannot be met for any reason, including legal or contractual obligations, Final Reports must provide reasons why Research Outputs derived from ARC Funded Research have not been made Openly Accessible within a twelve (12) month period.

In all cases, Research Output Metadata must be made available to the public in an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication. Metadata must include the ARC Project ID, list the ARC as a funding source and contain a DOI or link to the Research Output.

6.2 Requirements for Research Outputs

6.2.1 Research Outputs must be made Openly Accessible

Any Research Output Published in respect of ARC Funded Research must be made Openly Accessible within a twelve (12) month period from the Publication Date and must include acknowledgement of ARC funding and the ARC Project ID.

6.2.2 Location of Research Outputs

Consistent with the purpose of this policy, it is acceptable for Research Outputs to be made Openly Accessible either in an Institutional Repository or somewhere other than an Institutional Repository, for example, through a publisher’s website, if the Published version of the article is Open Access with an associated licence, such as a Creative Commons licence. Research Outputs may also be deposited in an Openly Accessible public digital archive (for example, PubMed Central® (PMC) or Zenodo or OAlster).

Decisions on where to make Research Outputs Openly Accessible must be consistent with any copyright or licencing arrangements in place.

6.3 Requirements for Metadata

6.3.1 Availability in an Institutional Repository

Metadata for all Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research must be made available to the public in an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication of the Research Output.

This requirement applies in all cases, regardless of whether the Research Output itself can or will be made Openly Accessible.

6.3.2 Information included in Metadata

Metadata must include the ARC Project ID, list the ARC as a funding source and contain a permanent DOI for the Research Output. If a DOI is not available, then a permanent Uniform Resource Locator (URL) link must be provided instead to the Research Output.

Metadata should also contain other relevant information as applicable and appropriate to the Research Output including, but not limited to: author(s)/creator(s); title; type of Research Output; publisher; date of Publication/public presentation; volume; issue; page numbers; ISBN/ISSN/other standard number; licence associated with an item; and the ORCID identifier for the author responsible for providing the Research Output (to be made Openly Accessible).

6.4 Copyright and licensing 

6.4.1 Application of licences to Research Outputs

The ARC strongly encourages the application of appropriate licences to Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research in order to specify access and usage rights that are consistent with this policy.

The ARC’s preference is for the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) to apply to Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research. However, it is acceptable to apply any of the options available through the Creative Commons suite of licences.

6.4.2 Copyright and licensing agreements

In many cases, copyright and licensing agreements are in place between authors, institutions and publishers. In such cases, researchers, individuals and institutions should explore mechanisms to allow compliance with this policy.

If the copyright or licensing agreement does not allow the Research Output to be made Openly Accessible within twelve months (12) of the Publication Date, it must be made Openly Accessible as soon as possible after that date.

If the copyright or licensing agreement never allows the Research Output to be made Openly Accessible, this must be explained in the Final Report (as required in Reporting requirements section of this policy).

6.5 Reporting requirements

All Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research must be listed in the Final Report for each Project. A permanent DOI or URL link to each listed Research Output must also be provided in the Final Report.

If a Research Output cannot, or will not, be made Openly Accessible for any reason, an explanation must be provided in the Final Report.

6.6 Roles and responsibilities

6.6.1 Administering Organisation

The Administering Organisation on any given Project, Fellowship or Award will be responsible for working with the Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee or Director to ensure compliance with the policy.

6.6.2 Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee or Director

The Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee or Director must ensure that the appropriate copy, recording, rendering or documentation of the Research Output is either:

  • provided to an Institutional Repository to be made Openly Accessible in the Institutional Repository within twelve (12) months of the Publication Date; or
  • made Openly Accessible somewhere other than an Institutional Repository within twelve (12) months of the Publication Date.

The Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee or Director must ensure that the Research Output Metadata are provided to an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication of the Research Output. This may also be managed via the institutional research administration office.

If no Institutional Repository is available to the Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee, or Director, the Publication must be made available in another repository, such as an Openly Accessible public digital archive. Should either options not be available then this must be recorded in the Final Report.

6.6.3 Institutional Repository manager (or equivalent)

The Institutional Repository manager (or equivalent) must make the Research Output Metadata available to the public as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication, regardless of whether the Published Research Output has been made Openly Accessible, is under embargo, or is never to be made Openly Accessible.

If the Research Output has been provided to the Institutional Repository to be made Openly Accessible, the Institutional Repository manager (or equivalent) must ensure that the Research Output is made Openly Accessible in the Institutional Repository at a date that complies with any copyright or licensing arrangements in place.

6.7 Acceptable versions of written/printed Research Outputs

For the purposes of this policy, it is acceptable for either of the following versions of a manuscript, journal article in a peer reviewed journal or refereed conference paper to be made Openly Accessible:

  • the Post-print or “Author accepted manuscript”, which has been accepted for Publication, and which is made available in the author’s Institutional Repository under an appropriate licence such as those available through the Creative Commons suite of licences (ideally CC-BY)
  • the Publisher’s Version/PDF, also referred to as the ‘Published version’ or ‘version of record’ (for example, journal version with final pagination and formatting). The publisher’s version is only acceptable if it is fully Openly Accessible, with an appropriate licence such as those available through the Creative Commons suite of licences (ideally CC-BY).

Versions of a manuscript, journal article or conference paper that have not been refereed or peer reviewed, for example Pre-prints, are not acceptable for the purposes of this policy.

Written/printed non-traditional research or other Research Outputs that have undergone external review of an equivalent standard to traditional academic peer review must be made Openly Accessible.

Decisions on which version of a Research Output to make Openly Accessible must be consistent with any copyright or licencing arrangements in place. Author(s) are encouraged to consider the Open Access Policy of publishers and research outlets prior to contracting/licensing with the publisher.  

6.8 Acceptable versions of non-written/printed Research Outputs

This policy requires that a meaningful and enduring digital representation of the work be deposited into the Institutional Repository or publically available through an Open Access archive.

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Contact details

Stakeholder Relations
Australian Research Council 
Phone: 02 6287 6600
communications@arc.gov.au
www.arc.gov.au
Level 2, 11 Lancaster Place, Canberra Airport ACT 2609 
GPO Box 2702, Canberra ACT 2601

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Frequently asked questions

1. How has the policy changed from the previous ARC Open Access Policy?

The revised policy issued on 30 June 2017 remains substantively the same as the previous version of the policy. The revisions remove ambiguities in application and includes:

  • The addition of a definitions section
  • The specification to make research ARC-funded research outputs openly accessible in an institutional repository has been removed, and replaced with the requirement that these outputs must be made openly accessible. Only the metadata for research outputs must be made available to the public in an institutional repository
  • The scope has been clarified to apply to all outputs, rather than just publications (journal articles and scholarly monographs as is currently the case) arising from ARC-funded research and its metadata
  • Greater guidance around the metadata requirements for ARC-funded research outputs
  • Specifying the need for appropriate licensing of research outputs in order to provide guidance on allowable access and reuse
  • Significantly clarifying the roles and responsibilities in relation to the ARC’s open access requirements.

The requirement that any research output arising from ARC funded research must be made openly accessible within a twelve (12) month period from the publication date has not changed. 

2. Why does the ARC have an Open Access Policy?

The research community and the public both gain from knowledge derived from publicly funded research and wish to derive maximum benefit from publicly funded Research Outputs. The ARC’s Open Access Policy aims to ensure that the findings of ARC Funded Research are made available to the research community and the public as soon as possible. 

3. To which research does the policy apply?

The policy commenced on 1 January 2013. It applies to all ARC Funded Research supported under ARC Funding Rules and Funding Agreement released since that date.

The policy does not apply retrospectively to ARC Funded Research supported under Funding Rules and Funding Agreements released before 1 January 2013.

4. To which types of Research Outputs does the policy apply?

The policy applies to all products (excluding Pre-prints) of an ARC-funded research Project that meet the definition of Research. This could include the following output types:

  • scholarly books
  • edited research books, including prestigious reference works
  • scholarly book chapters
  • refereed journal articles
  • refereed conference papers only when the paper was Published in full in the proceedings
  • non-traditional research outputs
  • other Research Outputs.

It is important to note that the presentation and dissemination of “non-traditional research” outputs or “other research” outputs can differ significantly from more common Research Outputs such as scholarly books and refereed journal articles. To ensure that non-traditional or other Research Outputs are addressed, the terms ‘Published’ and ‘Publication’ are used in the policy and these FAQs to refer to the form of public presentation of a Research Output specific to the relevant discipline in which it was created.

In relation to non-traditional Research Outputs, researchers should explore options with collaborators and experts in digital capture and preservation as standards and guidelines at some institutions for the management, reporting and long-term archival preservation of such records may still be under development. Researchers will also need to consult with the Institutional Repository manager (or equivalent) to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken in meeting the requirements of the ARC’s Open Access Policy. 

For the purposes of this policy, Research Outputs do not include research data and research data outputs. Research data arising from ARC Funded Research are addressed separately under the ARC’s data management requirements.  Further information is available on the Research Data Management page.

5. Does the policy apply to research data and research data outputs?

No. The ARC currently addresses the management of research data and research data outputs separately from the Open Access Policy.

The ARC strongly encourages researchers to deposit data arising from ARC Funded Research in publicly accessible repositories and requires researchers to outline how they plan to manage research data. Further information is available on the Research Data Management page.

6. Which Research Outputs need to be made Openly Accessible and when?

Any Research Outputs (other than research data and research data outputs) arising from ARC Funded Research must be made Openly Accessible within a twelve-month period from the date of Publication (or, for non-traditional Research Outputs, the date of public presentation).

To meet this requirement, the Administering Organisation should work with the Project Leader, Fellow, Awardee or Director to ensure that the Research Output is made Openly Accessible within twelve (12) months of the Publication.

Any Published Research Output must include acknowledgement of ARC funding and the ARC Project ID.

7. If a Research Output is made Openly Accessible in an Institutional Repository, when should it be submitted?

If the Research Output is to be made Openly Accessible in an Institutional Repository, it should be submitted to the Institutional Repository on acceptance or at the latest on Publication.

The Institutional Repository manager (or equivalent) is responsible for ensuring that the Research Output is made Openly Accessible in the Institutional Repository as soon as possible, and in compliance with any copyright transfer or licensing arrangements in place.

8. If a Research Output is made Openly Accessible somewhere other than an Institutional Repository, does it also need to be submitted to an Institutional Repository?

No. If a Research Output is made Openly Accessible somewhere other than an Institutional Repository, for example, on a publisher’s website with an associated licence, or in an Openly Accessible public digital archive (for example, PubMed Central® (PMC) or Zenodo or OAlster), it does not also need to be submitted to an Institutional Repository.

However, in all cases, the Research Output Metadata must be made available to the public in an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication from the Research Output, no matter where the output itself is made Openly Accessible. The Metadata in the Institutional Repository must include a permanent DOI or URL link to the Research Output.

Making a Research Output Openly Accessible must be consistent with any copyright transfer or licensing arrangements in place.

It is important to be aware that institutions may require their researchers to submit Research Outputs to their Institutional Repository.

9. My paper is on ResearchGate. Isn't that sufficient to comply with the Policy?

Services such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu (scholarly communications networks) are commercial social networking platforms. While they can provide access to Research Outputs, they are not currently able to provide the commitment to long-term preservation, data reuse, publisher copyright requirements and end-user privacy afforded by Institutional Repositories or Openly Accessible public archives such as PMC, and are thus not acceptable repositories for the purpose of this policy.

10. Which version of a traditional Research Output (manuscript/refereed journal article/refereed conference paper) needs to be made Openly Accessible?

There are various versions of traditional Research Outputs—manuscripts, peer-reviewed journal articles and refereed conference papers—that can be made Openly Accessible. Under this policy, either of the following is acceptable:

  • the Publisher’s Version/PDF, also referred to as the ‘Published version’ or ‘version of record’ (for example, journal version with final pagination and formatting), or
  • the author’s version of the output, also referred to as the “Author accepted manuscript”, ‘final accepted version’ or ‘Post-print’ version (for example, a Word document), after it has been peer reviewed and revisions have been made.

Versions of a manuscript, journal article or conference paper that have not been refereed or peer reviewed, also sometimes referred to as the ‘submitted manuscript’ or ‘Pre-print’ versions, are not acceptable for the purposes of this policy as significant changes may be introduced to an article as a result of the peer review process. 

It is important to note that publishers may have different policies regarding which version of a Research Output can be made Openly Accessible, and when it can be made Openly Accessible. This information should be included in any copyright or licensing agreement.

It is important to note that Institutional Repositories may have different policies regarding which version of a Research Output can be submitted. . For further information regarding which version of a traditional Research Output can be included in an Institutional Repository, consult your librarian or the SHERPA/RoMEO database of international publisher policies.

The application of a Creative Commons licence is only possible when the author maintains copyright in the Publications. Publishers may require or negotiate the transfer of copyright in the Publication from the author(s) to the publisher by way of contract or licence. In order to use a CC-BY licence, as encouraged in this policy, it is recommended that authors retain the copyright in their Research Outputs and negotiate a non-exclusive right to use/make available the Publication such as in an Institutional Repository or publically available Open Access archive. 

11. Which licences should be applied to Research Outputs?

The application of appropriate licences to Research Outputs helps to specify the access and usage rights that the research community and the public have to those outputs. To support increased clarity regarding publicly funded research, the ARC strongly encourages appropriate licensing of all Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research.

The ARC’s preference is for the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY)—the most open international licence—to apply to Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research. However, it is acceptable to apply any of the options available through the Creative Commons suite of licences that are appropriate for the type of Research Output. 

12. How quickly should Research Output Metadata be made available in an Institutional Repository?

Metadata—that is, data about the Research Output itself, such as author, publisher, funding information and other relevant details—for all Research Outputs arising from ARC supported research must be made available to the public in an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication. This requirement is regardless of where the Research Output is Published and whether the Published Research Output itself can or will be made Openly Accessible or not.

13. What information needs to be included in Metadata?

Research Output Metadata must include the ARC Project ID, list the ARC as a funding source and contain a permanent DOI or URL link to the Research Output.

Metadata should also contain other relevant information as applicable and appropriate to the Research Output (noting that different types of outputs may require different Metadata) including, but not limited to: author(s)/creator(s); title; type of Research Output; publisher; date of Publication/public presentation; volume; issue; page numbers; ISBN/ISSN/other standard number; and ORCID.

The ARC requires the inclusion of specific details in Metadata to enable Published outputs from ARC Funded Research to be disseminated more broadly, to increase access by researchers and the wider community, and to support efficiencies in ARC processes.

14. What information needs to be included in the Final Report?

The Final Report must list all Research Outputs for each ARC Funded Research Project. Each listed Research Output must have a DOI or URL.

If a Research Output cannot or will not be made Openly Accessible, for any reason, an explanation must be provided in the Final Report. This includes, for example, copyright and licensing arrangements that restrict the Research Output from being made Openly Accessible, and the compliance options that were investigated or attempted to facilitate Open Accessibility.

15. What if copyright and licensing agreements restrict the Research Output from being made publicly available?

In all cases, Research Output Metadata must be made available to the public in an Institutional Repository as soon as possible but no later than three (3) months from the date of Publication, regardless of whether the Research Output is Openly Accessible, under embargo, or never to be made Openly Accessible.

Where relevant, institutions may wish to use a publicly available ‘holding note’ to explain that copyright/licensing restrictions prevent the inclusion of a particular Research Output in the repository until a specific date.

If the copyright/licensing agreement does not allow the Research Output to be made Openly Accessible within twelve months of the date of Publication, it must be made Openly Accessible as soon as possible after that date.

If the copyright/licensing agreement never allows the Research Output to be made Openly Accessible, this must be explained in the Final Report including how compliance options were investigated or attempted.

For peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers, in order to be able to address the conditions of the ARC Open Access Policy, authors should discuss and negotiate appropriate publishing agreement terms with the publisher before any agreement is signed. For monographs and book chapters it is also expected that authors will investigate Open Access publishing options. 

16. What should I consider before entering into a contract or licensing agreement with a publisher? 

When considering the Open Access Policy of publishers and research outlets prior to contracting with the publisher, author(s) should give specific consideration as to how publisher conditions align with the F.A.I.R. principles for Research Outputs (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

Author(s) should consider selecting publishers and research outlets, which have policies supporting the F.A.I.R. principles, as well as immediate or early availability of Publications via Open Access, in order to maximise the availability and impact of their ARC Funded Research. 

For further information please view the F.A.I.R. access policy statement and principles.

17. What if my institution does not have an Institutional Repository?

If no Institutional Repository is immediately available, this will need to be recorded in the Final Report.

The ARC will then discuss the implementation of this policy with Administering Organisations that do not currently provide researchers with access to an Institutional Repository. 

18. What if my institution has a different workflow for the deposit of Research Outputs?

Whilst the roles and responsibilities outlined in this Policy are designed to be consistent with most workflows in place at institutions, there may be some institutions that have different organisational structures in place.

The ARC recognises that such structures may not include an Institutional Repository manager, or may require the deposit of Research Outputs through a different deposit point or role responsibility in accordance with their institutions own workflows and framework.

Regardless of the structures and workflows available, the ARC’s expectation is that Research Outputs arising from ARC Funded Research are made Openly Accessible and the Metadata for those Outputs are made available to the public in accordance with this policy.

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Previous Versions

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