Re: The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 17:39:55 +0000

In Michael Giarlo's unpublished preprint " The Impact of Open Access on Academic

the source for the green/gold distinction is for some very odd reason
cited as (of all people) Walter Crawford (2005) (someone who is not the
most knowledgeable about, nor friendly to, this distinction!).

The distinction was first formulated on the American Scientist Open
Access Forum:

    "The Green and Gold Roads to Open Access" (Nov 2003)

and first published in:

    Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S.,
    Yves, G., Charles, O., Stamerjohanns, H. and Hilf, E. (2004) The
    Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access.
    Serials review 30.

Whereas Open Access (OA) via the green road of author self-archiving could
indeed indeed be described, as Giarlo puts it, as "an intermediate phase"
between the current toll-access model and the gold OA publishing model
for journal cost-recovery, it is important to understand and remember that
green OA is not "intermediate" OA! It is full-blooded, 100% OA, which
was defined by the BOAI in 2001 as free online access to the full text of journal

It is a mistake to imagine or imply that OA was defined as the gold
OA publishing model! Nor was OA devised as a solution to the journal
affordability crisis (although the journal affordability crisis helped
raise consciousness about the need for OA). OA was devised as a solution
to the research accessibility crisis -- and this solution is provided
by 100% OA, whether via gold or green or both!

Similarly, where Giarlo writes (again citing Crawford):

    "while the green model of open access will undoubtedly benefit
    scholars by globally providing scholarly material at no cost, with
    no access restrictions, other benefits such as budget relief may
    not be realized"

This is certainly true, but, again, not an OA matter, because OA's direct
concern is article-accessibility for users, not journal-affordability
for subscribers.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Mar 07 2006 - 17:49:45 GMT

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