The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Apr 11 07:06:19 EST 2005


    Below is a comment on an article in Wired entitled
    "Open-Access Journals Flourish" (by Randy Dotinga) 
http://wired-vig.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,67174,00.html?tw=wn_2culthead
   which (as usual) described only the "gold rush" and completely
   overlooked the quiet growth of green:

There are two roads to Open Access (i.e., free online access to
peer-reviewed journal articles), one of them being the "golden" road
of publishing the articles in "gold" journals that give away their
own contents for free online by charging the author-institution for
publication instead of charging the user-institution for access. Your
article rightly points out that about 5% of journals (about 1500 out
of a total of about 24,000) are already gold today. What it did not
mention was that about 92% of journals are already "green", that is,
they give their own authors the green light to make their own articles
Open Access (OA) by self-archiving them in their own institution's Open
Access Archives. Of the 2.5 million articles published annually today, 5%
are OA via gold and 15% are OA via green.  The exact comparative growth
rate of Gold vs. Green OA is not yet known, but it is far easier and
cheaper for an institution to create an OA archive for its own research
than it is to create a new gold journal (or to convert an established
journal or publisher to gold), especially with more and more research
institutions, universities, research funders and governments recommending,
requesting and even requiring that the peer-reviewed research articles
they produce and fund should be made accessible to all their would-be
users online and not just to those whose institutions that can afford
to subscribe to the journals in which they were published.

Here are a few URLs that fill in the relative gold and green portions of the
picture that your Wired Story wrongly portrayed as a unilateral "Gold Rush":

Directory of OA ("Gold") Journals (1525/24,000): 
    http://www.doaj.org/
Directory of Green Journal Policies (7753/8427):
    http://romeo.eprints.org/stats.php
Number and Growth Rate of Institutional OA Archives:
    http://archives.eprints.org/eprints.php?action=browse
Policy Recommendation of UK Select Committee:
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmsctech/399/39903.htm
Policy Recommendation of Berlin Declaration:
    http://www.eprints.org/berlin3/outcomes.html
Registry of Institutional Self-Archiving Policies:
    http://www.eprints.org/signup/fulllist.php
OA Self-Archiving FAQ: 
    http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/
Bibliography on how maximizing research access maximizes research impact:
    http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html
American Scientist Open Access Forum: 
    http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/American-Scientist-Open-Access-Forum.html

Stevan Harnad
Moderator, American Scientist Open Access Forum
Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal
Professor of Cognitive Sciences, University of Southampton, UK 




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