Open Educational Resources for Teaching and Learning: Open Access

Open Access Sources for teaching and research

Banner heading titled Open Access with an image of an open lock

"Open access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research. Open access can be more than making research available to read, but also allowing others to re-use that research" (JISC, 2019, para. 1). 

OA materials can be incorporated into reading lists and teaching materials, allowing students to find and access the research at no cost. As our reading lists are openly available themselves, it will also raise the visibility and discoverability of the research, and increase its impact.

For more information on Open Access at Brunel take a look at our Open Access web pages. 

Find Open Access materials

To find open access materials you can browse some of the following key resources:

Image of open lockDirectory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) 

A independent service that indexes and provides access to just under 15,000 peer reviewed Open Access journals and 5 million journal articles. You can search by article, journal or browse by subject.

Image of open lockOpenDOAR: the Directory of Open Access Repositories 

An authoritative directory run by JISC of almost 5,400 global open access institutional and governmental research archives. Advance search will allow you to locate a type of resource, for example a learning object or software. You can search the directory or the contents of repositories. Contents include  journal articles, theses and book chapters published by researchers.

Image of open lockBASE 

BASE is an academic search engines which searches more than 7,000 sources, including repositories and open access journals. While it is not an open access repository, you can freely access the full texts of about 60% of the indexed documents.

Image of open lockCORE: COnnecting REpositories 

An aggregator site delivered by JISC and the Open University that will search almost 200 million articles and datasets worldwide, including pre-publication version of journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and theses. 

Image of open lockDigital Commons Network

Collection of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, working papers, conference proceedings, and other original scholarly work curated by university librarians and their institutions.

Image of open lockOAIster 

Union catalogue of Open Access digital resources from collections worldwide. More than 50 million records are harvested from more than 2,000 contributors with links to full text where possible. 

Image of open lockROAD: Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources 

UNESCO funded project to create a directory of Open Access publications, including journals, conferences and annuals, that have been awarded an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number). The site aims to give you information about the items and their different versions to aid discovery.

Image of open lockAccess to Research

Public Libraries Initiative that gives free access to over 15 million academic articles.

College Specific Resources

a-n Research

Discover Open Access research from the visual arts and creative sector.

Anthropology Commons

A repository of open primary sources critical to the study of anthropology and the history of the field.

International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science

Journal of Open Access to Law (JOAL)   

Aims to promote international research on the topic of open access to law.   

Academic search engine indexing over 5000 free e-journals and other open access content in the arts and humanities

Open Humanities Press (OHP)   

Peer-reviewed open access books and journals in the humanities.

Open Library of Humanities   

Project that aims to provide open access texts and journals in humanities subjects. 

Research Papers in Economics

Bibliographic database of working papers, journal articles, books, books chapters and software components.

Sage Open

SAGE Open is a peer-reviewed, "Gold" open access journal. Coverage includes the social and behavioural sciences and the humanities.

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)   

Social science research, including accounting, anthropology, cognition, economics, humanities, information systems, law, management, marketing, politics, sustainability etc

World Bank Open Knowledge repository

The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) is The World Bank’s official open access repository for its research outputs and knowledge products.


A scientific literature digital library and search engine that focuses primarily on the literature in computer and information science.

Chemical Sciences Article Repository     

Peer reviewed articles published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Covers all areas of chemical sciences.

Open AIRE   

Contains tens of millions of records from EC funded scientific research, repositories and datasets many of which are full text. Aims to provide not only published outcomes but the linked source datasets. Researchers can also deposit materials here.

Physical Review C

Covering nuclear physics. 

Physical Review D

Covering covering particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology. From 2015 all articles authored by The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will be open access.

Physical Review Letters


Preprints, research reports, annual reports, and list of publications of worldwide distributed physics institutions and individual physicists.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)  

PLoS is the pre-eminent open access publisher for journal articles in science and medicine​​​​​​​. 

BioMed Central   

Discover articles in the fields of biology, clinical medicine and health.


Discover research articles and papers in life sciences and biomedicine.

Gates Open Research

Peer reviewed research publications in the field of global health.

Nature Communications

Nature Communications is an open access journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural sciences.

Open AIRE   

Contains tens of millions of records from EC funded scientific research, repositories and datasets many of which are full text. Aims to provide not only published outcomes but the linked source datasets. Researchers can also deposit materials here.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)   

With over 100,000 articles, PLoS is the pre-eminent open access publisher for journal articles in science and medicine.

PubMed Central (PMC)

Open Access Life Science and Medical Journals. Hosted by the US National Library of Medicine.

Wellcome Open Research

Funded by the Wellcome Trust. All items are peer-reviewed and open access.

Wiley Open Access Journals

Wiley Open Access publishes a number of online journals across biological, chemical and health sciences.


Open Access Websites and Tools

There are a number of useful browser extensions and platforms available, which will help you identify and find open access materials. Install the browser extension to quickly determine if an article is openly accessible or not. 


Browser plug-in that identifies openly available PDFs and allows you to store them in a locker area. 

OpenAccess Button

Open access search engine and browser extension that looks in repositories and OA sources to locate freely available versions of articles and scholarly materials. 


Open database and browser extension harvesting and making visible millions of open materials. 

Pre-Print Servers

Preprints are an early versions of research outputs, such as an articles, made publically available via deposit in a preprint server or repository platform. Usually the version made available is pre-journal submission, and this allows for the rapid dissemination of research findings sometimes delayed by lengthy scholarly publishing processes.

Preprint or postprint repositories are often run for specific disciplines by subject communities. They make works available for the research community to view and comment on with the intention of enabling a form of peer review and generating some initial impact for the research. They are not an alternative to traditional journal publishing, but rather offer a complementary route to amplifying the impact of the research.  

Some preprint archives to search for research: 

Search preprints in participating archive repositories. Subjects include mathematics, physics, nonlinear sciences and computing.

BioRXiv - (pronounced "bio-archive") is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences.

This wiki site lists the numerous preprint repositories available by discipline. 

Based at the University of Southampton, Cogprints is an electronic archive for papers in any area of Psychology, Neuroscience, Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science, Philosophy, Biology, Medicine, Anthropology, as well as any other portions of the physical, social and mathematical sciences that are pertinent to the study of cognition. This site itself was archived in 2017, so only papers until that date are available here. 

International open repository in the field of library and information science. Authors are invited to collaborate by submitting their works to the E-LIS server.