Free Science Panel at Wizards of OS 3: The Future of the Digital Commons

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:49:27 +0100

    The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access to Refereed Research

    ABSTRACT: The problem of journal pricing/affordability and the
    problem of article access/impact are not the same problem, the
    solution to the one is not the solution to the other, and it is a
    great mistake to treat them as if they were the same. The solution
    to the journal pricing/affordability problem is lower journal
    prices and/or a conversion to "golden" journal publishing (Open
    Access [OA] Journals whose articles are free to all user online): The solution to the access/impact problem is
    for authors to provide Open Access to all their journal articles
    in order to maximize their usage and impact, either by publishing
    them in OA journals or by publishing them in conventional journals
    but also self-archiving them on their institutional OA websites
    (preferably OAI-compliant Eprint Archives for visibility and
    Over 80% of journals are already "green," i.e., they have
    given their official green light to author self-archiving: But
    only 5% of journals are gold (i.e., OA journals). It takes far
    more time, effort, resources and risk to create or convert gold
    journals, whereas it takes virtually no time, effort, resources
    or risk to create and fill OA Archives. Several studies have now
    confirmed the dramatic degree to which OA enhances research impact: It is now
    time for institutions to adopt official policies requiring all their
    researchers to provide OA to all their research articles, via either
    the gold or green road: What
    is holding this up is partly author/institution inertia but partly
    also an unfortunate tendency to conflate the article access/impact
    problem with the journal pricing/affordability problem, and hence to
    focus solely or mainly on the slow, narrow and uncertain golden road
    (5%) to OA, rather than the fast, wide, and certain green road (95%).

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
        To join the Forum:
        Post discussion to:
        Hypermail Archive:

Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Fri Jun 04 2004 - 20:49:27 BST

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