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Connecting the Dots: 20+ Years of Open in Australia: Home

Connecting the dots: 20+ years of open in Australia

CAUL Council of Australian University Libraries

Open Access Australasia

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This guide accompanies the poster Connecting the dots: 20+ years of open in Australia (PDF). It expands on the poster content and provides links to relevant documents.

The guide and the poster were created by Catherine Clark and Kate Davis (Council of Australian University Librarians) and Ginny Barbour (Open Access Australasia).

All content in the guide and poster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) licence. Under the licence conditions, please attribute the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and Open Access Australasia (OAA).

This poster was originally created for the 15th Berlin Open Access Conference.

There have been open research initiatives in Australia since the very beginning of global discussions on open access to research publications in the early 2000s. The initiatives in Australia have come from a range of actors, including the federal government, funders, institutions, and peak and advocacy bodies. This arrow illustrates some of the key initiatives over the past 20 years. In 2020, the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG, now Open Access Australasia) facilitated a national discussion on open research. In 2021, there is increased momentum towards open access to research publications driven by work from the Office of the Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley.


Australian National University (ANU) repository established

Australia’s first institutional repository was established at ANU.


Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Open Access Policy published

QUT was the first university in the world to have an institutional open access policy that mandates deposit of author accepted manuscripts of peer reviewed articles in the QUT repository, ePrints. An updated policy that applies a CC BY-NC license to author accepted manuscripts was approved in 2018.


ANU Press established

ANU was the first university in Australia to establish an open access university press.


Peak or advocacy body

Creative Commons Australia launched

The Australian chapter of the Creative Commons Global Network supports Creative Commons in Australia and administers the Australian Creative Commons licences. Find out more about Creative Commons Australia.



Federal investment in university repositories

The Australian Government invested money in open access infrastructure by providing funding for development of university repositories through three programs:

  • Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW) 
  • Rural Universities Building Research Infrastructure Collaboratively (RUBRIC)
  • Australian Scheme for Higher Education Repositories (ASHER).



Australian National Data Service established

ANDS was established to “make Australia’s research data assets more valuable for researchers, research institutions and the nation”. It was funded by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). Its flagship service was Research Data Australia. In 2018, ANDS became part of the new entity Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC).

Peak or advocacy body

Brisbane Declaration on Open Access published

The Brisbane Declaration was developed at the Open Access and Research Conference held in September 2008 at QUT in Brisbane, Australia. Though the Declaration was aimed at the Australian research sector, it was felt it could serve as a model for other countries. 

OAKList published

In 2006, the Australian Government funded the establishment of the Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project* at QUT. The OAK Law Project aimed to “facilitate seamless access to knowledge in order to improve the social, economic and cultural outcomes from public sector investments in education and research” (OAK Law Project). The project ran until 2009. In 2008, the project published the OAKList, an online, searchable database of publishers' agreements and open access policies. Read more about the methodology used to create the OAKList and an overview of the OAK Law Project.

* Site archived by the Wayback Machine.


Peak or advocacy body

CAUL Statement on Open Scholarship published

CAUL published its first Statement on Open Scholarship, which articulated CAUL’s goals related to open scholarship. View the Statement via the Wayback Machine.



National Research Infrastructure Roadmap published 

This roadmap is one of a series of roadmaps published by the Australian Government, starting with the first Strategic Roadmap in 2006 and the conception of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) in 2004. The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) was formally established in 2008 as part of NCRIS.


Peak or advocacy body

Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG) formed

Supported initially by six universities to advocate for open access across Australia, the purpose of AOASG (Australian Open Access Support Group) was to advocate for and support open access initiatives initially with an Australian focus. In 2015, with the addition of members from New Zealand and a change of focus, it became the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group.



Australian Research Council (ARC) Open Access Policy published

The major Australian funder introduced a requirement for outputs from research funded by the ARC to be openly available after a 12 month embargo.

Government launched was established as the central source of Australian open government data, providing access to the anonymised public data published by federal, state and local government agencies, as well as publicly-funded research data and datasets from private institutions.


Open Access & Research Conference held in Brisbane

This conference brought together a global audience of open access advocates. Knowledge Unlatched was launched at the conference.An event report was published by staff from QUT.



National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Open Access Policy published

Australia’s other major funder introduced a requirement for outputs from research funded by the NHMRC to be openly available after a 12 month embargo.


Peak or advocacy body

CAUL’s revised Statement on Open Scholarship published

CAUL reviewed and updated its Statement on Open Scholarship, originally published in 2010.



Productivity Commission Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements published

The report recommended that all federal, state and territory governments "implement an open access policy for publicly-funded research".

Peak or advocacy body

F.A.I.R. Policy Statement for access to Australia’s research outputs published

The statement was developed by a Working Group convened by the Universities Australia Deputy Vice Chancellors (Research) Committee. Universities Australia is the peak body for universities in Australia. As an outcome of this work, the F.A.I.R. Steering Group was formed and continues to include representation from a broad range of government and non-government organisations.



Open Repositories conference held in Brisbane

In 2017, the International Conference on Open Repositories* returned to Australia for its 12th event, where the first conference was held in Sydney in 2006. This time, the conference was held in Brisbane and hosted by the University of Queensland, QUT and Griffith University.

* Site archived by the Wayback Machine.


ARC Open Access Policy updated

The ARC Open Access Policy was revised and strengthened to indicate a preference for a Creative Commons Attribution license. It also references the F.A.I.R. principles. 


Government response to Productivity Commission report

The Australian Government responded to the Productivity Commission Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements by accepting the report and its recommendation, but is yet to take any action.



NHMRC Open Access Policy updated

The revised policy indicates a preference for research outputs to be allocated a Creative Commons Attribution license. It also strongly encourages researchers to share research data produced through NHMRC-funded research and refers to the F.A.I.R. principles. 


Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) established

The ARDC was formed under the Federal Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) through the merger of three existing digital research infrastructure capabilities: the Australian National Data Service (ANDS); National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (Nectar); and Research Data Services (RDS). The ARDC is a provider of digital research infrastructure and supports and advocates for the application of the F.A.I.R. principles.


Inquiry into Funding Australia’s Research undertaken

This inquiry examined the efficiency, effectiveness and coherency of Australian Government funding for research. It focused on federally funded research agencies, their funding mechanisms and university collaborative research. The report Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research was published in October. The inquiry supported an AOASG proposal following written and oral presentations to the inquiry and recommended that “the Australian Government develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment”.


Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) established

This hub for analysis and evaluation of open knowledge in higher education was established at Curtin University in Perth. COKI undertakes quantitative and qualitative research analysis of: global institutional openness; diversity and inclusion in knowledge production; knowledge dissemination and evaluation of open knowledge performance. View COKI’s research outputs.


Peak or advocacy body

CAUL Statement on Open Scholarship published

CAUL released an update to the 2015 statement, committing to action, including providing resources, to advance open scholarship in the following areas: advocacy, competency, publishing, infrastructure, content acquisition and educational resources.

Peak or advocacy body

Joint CAUL-AOASG Election Statement published

This statement was released in the lead up to the federal election and expanded on previous recommendations and highlighted the need for a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia. The statement noted that a “re-invigorated commitment to open scholarship will help ensure that Australian researchers can continue to collaborate with international colleagues, access international funding programs, and contribute to major global projects”.

Peak or advocacy body

CAUL & AOASG joint statement on Plan S published

The statement welcomed the plan’s aspirations. The response by CAUL and AOASG recommends that “if the plan is to be successful the implementation guidelines need to pay particular attention to repository based Green Open Access (OA), the cost of OA infrastructure, incentives for OA and the consultation process going forward”. Following this, a Roadmap to Plan S for Australia was prepared by CAUL for use in Australian universities.


Peak or advocacy body

First two CAUL-negotiated transformative agreements come into effect

Agreements with Microbiology Society and Portland Press came into effect, marking the first transformative agreements for Australia’s university scholarly content procurement consortia.

Peak or advocacy body

CAUL & AOASG open research consultations

CAUL and AOASG coordinated national and international consultations with a broad range of senior stakeholders on a potential policy approach to open research in Australia. This included a series of virtual Roundtable meetings along with two webinars: International Perspectives: Developing a National Strategy for Open Research; and Developing an Overarching National Strategy for Open Research in Australia.


Peak or advocacy body

Australian Academy of Science Position Statement – Open Science published

This position statement supports the development of an open science strategy for Australia. It noted that “a strategy needs to address open access, open methods, open peer review and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (F.A.I.R.) data”.

Peak or advocacy body

First transformative agreement with an Australian publisher – CSIRO – negotiated by CAUL

Five new transformative agreements were negotiated to commence for 2021 subscriptions, including with the CSIRO, which was the first agreement to be negotiated by the consortium with an Australian publisher.


Australia’s Chief Scientist indicates support for an Australian model for open access

Dr Cathy Foley noted that open access was one of her four pillars of work at her inaugural speech to the National Press Club. Later in the year,her 2021 Strategic Workplan articulated her four key priorities, including to “Champion OA for Australia, including development of a roadmap, with links to research integrity”.

Peak or advocacy body

AOASG becomes Open Access Australasia

The organisation is now comprised of 28 universities across Australia and New Zealand, as well as five affiliate organisations. Its 2020-21 priorities are informed by six principles:

  1. equity in scholarly communications
  2. a diverse ecosystem of open access approaches
  3. integrity and quality in research
  4. maximisation of the impact of research
  5. appropriate and respectful use of Indigenous knowledges
  6. retention of rights by authors or their institutions.