Skip to Main Content

Open Access Resources: Home

Welcome Library Services Finding Resources Subject Resources Academic Skills Getting Help

Open Access

What is Open Access?
Online academic information comes in many forms and the University pays publishers to provide you with access to most of this information. The electronic journals, books and databases the Library buys are accurate and reliable, and so this is often the best place to start looking for the resources you need to support your learning and research.

LibrarySearch provides the easiest way to find and access library print and online resources. It allows you to search across almost all library collections and resources, whether you are on or off campus.

However, some authors, artists and publishers choose to make their work available for free, and you can find these open access resources on the library website and other sites across the internet. Knowing about this extensive, free, high-quality academic information can be helpful as an alternative research resource. The term 'open access' is often abbreviated to OA. 

Because open access resources come in different forms and different locations, you may find it helpful to contact your liaison librarian for support.

Free or Open Access Resource?
Open access resources are usually about sharing the results of research. However, there are many individual websites which contain valuable free resources for educational purposes -

A lot of museums have made their images available in high resolution on open access. Warwick University has produced a helpful list.

Browser Plugins
There are some useful browser plugins to help you locate open access resources - 

Remember - you should never have to pay for an open access resource.  If you need help - Contact the Library.

Research Repositories
UCA, like most universities world-wide, hosts its own research repository containing open access research outputs, which can be found online - UCA Research Online.  If you are looking for particular journal articles, book chapters or PhD theses then it may be worth checking if the author has deposited their research in their university's research repository.

  • The British Library EthOS service offer access to UK PhD theses. 
  • OpenDOAR provides a list of nearly all open access repositories world-wide.
  • CORE lists open access research resources from repositories across the world.
  • Digital Commons Network brings together free, full-text scholarly articles from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide

Open Access Electronic Journals
Electronic journals are the most common source of scholarly open access publication.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an online directory that indexes and provides access to open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Open Humanities Press is an international open access publishing collective in critical and cultural theory.

Some academic publishers offer a section of open access resources from their collections.

  • SpringerOpen is a subset of Springer’s portfolio of 150+ peer-reviewed fully open access journals
  • Wiley Open Access is an open access subset of their wide-ranging peer-reviewed journals.

Open Access Electronic Books
There are many free books to download on the Internet, and many books that are out of copyright have been digitised and are freely available.

  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a discovery service shows where open access books can be found.
  • Digital Culture Books from the University of Michigan Press.
  • HathiTrust Digital Library offers millions of titles digitised from libraries around the world.
  • Internet Archive and Open Library - the Internet Archive is a non-profit project that offers a free Internet library.
  • The OAPEN Library, supported by the European Union, makes freely accessible academic books available, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Project Gutenberg was one of the earliest providers of free electronic books, and contains over 60,000 books in a variety of download formats.
  • UCL Press is the UK's first fully open access university press.