Gold OA solutions that are the equivalent of Green OA mandates or better? (working paper available online)

From: Armbruster, Chris <Chris.Armbruster_at_EUI.EU>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 07:49:51 +0200

It is often said that the main virtue of Green OA is that it can be mandated to give 100 OA%. Because research funders and research institutions are initially upstream of publishers, they can bind researchers with a prior contract that guarantees OA at least to Version 2. Researchers can also take this step themselves, as the FAS at Harvard has done. These are important steps in the direction of OA and may sometimes be all that is possible. However, research institutions and funders now have the opportunity to make Gold OA the default in a way that provides universal access to the final, authoritative version from the publisher while simultaneously obtaining an identical copy for the repositories: 100% OA with no technical, financial or legal barriers.

Recent deals between Springer (on the one side) and SUB Göttingen (research library) and the Max Planck Society (research funder-cum-institution) show that instituional output can be made 100% OA immediately with transition costs under control and simultaneous security for the publisher. To be sure, the 100% OA is only for one publisher, but the model may be extended to other publishers and could even be scaled to a national or European licensing deal. This would provide 100% OA very rapidly.

Yet another variant is SCOAP3, which provides 100% OA to the published output of a research field. Not many research fields are as well organised as High Energy Physics, but it is notable that research libraries and funders are here learning to pool resources for collective action. SCOAP3 will provide 100% OA immediately. It should also be noted that other fields are at least as well organised when it comes to OA pre-print servers (e.g. economics, computer science) and that Science Commons is running an OA law programme with an increasing number of journals. There is potential in this model for emulation and adaptation across research communities.

The following working paper sets out the examples:

Suggested Citation
Armbruster, Chris, "A European Model for the Digital Publishing of Scientific Information?" . Available at SSRN:

The entire system of scholarly communication is in transition, with the emergence of new markets, services and players. Given what we know about this digital transition, the technical, financial and legal parameters of a future model of publishing scientific information are predictable. The contribution of the Commission of the European Communities has been to emphasize how digital access to scientific information is related to the digital preservation of the record of scientific publications and data; because if digital preservation is undertaken access cannot be guaranteed for future innovations. The proposition for the delineation of a European model is developed as follows:

1. A digital model may be developed that results in open access, while preserving and enhancing the viability of a variety of commercial publishing models.

2. The institutional players in the publishing system, namely publishers, repositories and libraries, must be ready to accept a redistribution of the key functions of registration, certification, dissemination, archiving and navigation in a manner that plays to the strength of each.

3. The condition for any successful elaboration of a digital model is that it is complementary to the technology and economics of the internet, while the litmus test is that it enhances the impact and re-use of scientific information.

Open access publishing leads to complementary relationships between publishers, libraries and repositories; unrestricted access and the widest possible dissemination; and usually facilitates the creation of value-added services as an overlay from platforms, repositories and libraries. In recent years, a number of viable full open access publishing (OAP) models have emerged: OAP where the author pays, by subscription, through a sponsoring consortium, and by way of support and sponsorship.

Covered initiatives include BMC, Sage-Hindawi, Springer, SCOAP3, Science Commons OA law program, DRIVER, PARSE, PEER, NEEO and policies of the ERC, NIH and Harvard FAS
Received on Fri Apr 11 2008 - 12:48:35 BST

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