Thursday, November 30, 2017

Green vs Gold: Digging into Open Access Models

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The world of open access contains a colourful array of options for researchers who want to make their findings publicly accessible. Terms like green OA, gold OA, and even diamond or platinum OA are often used by publishers and funding agencies to describe different kinds of "open," but the distinctions can be confusing!

What you need to know:

1. Green and Gold labels don't refer the the level of openness or the value of either model; they refer to the way articles are being made open:

Green Open Access mean that a version of the author's manuscript OR a copy of the published version of the article is made freely available through an institutional or subject repository, like ERA, PubMed Central, or Green OA is usually free for the author, and may have conditions imposed by the journal. A recent article exploring the benefits of open science found that 72% of publishers allowed their articles to also be shared through green OA.

The University of Alberta Libraries can work with you or on your behalf to deposit your articles in our institutional repository, ERA: Education and Research Archive.

Gold Open Access means that the article is published by the journal as an open access article and is made available free of charge through the journal's publishing platform or website. Many (but not all) publishers charge article processing charges (or APCs) to authors to publish gold OA.

2. Green and Gold OA both meet the requirements of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

If you are required by your granting agency to make your research OA, but aren't sure how, contact your subject librarian or the ERA Helpdesk as / 780-492-4359.

3. Green and Gold OA can peacefully co-exist. If an article is published in a gold OA journal, it can often be shared in an institutional repository as a green OA article. This can lead to greater exposure for OA articles, as well as provide additional safeguards for the long-term preservation of the article and allow institutions to display more complete collections of their researchers' works in their repositories.

4. There are better ways to understand how open a journal is. For example, the large non-profit OA publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) have created HowOpenIsIt.This guide looks at the openness of content for readers, the ease with which authors can share their work, and whether software programs can mine text and metadata.

Look up your favourite journals on the OA Spectrum Evaluation Tool and see how they stack up!

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