Green Open Access: An Imperfect Standard – Politics, Distilled

“In my last post on the lack of accessibility of Gold Open Access for early career researchers (ECRs), I mentioned that in my opinion Green Open Access was a very imperfect solution – in fact, hardly a solution at all.  I expand here on why that is the case, and why a focus on green OA presents new challenges for publication practices which compound the – already many – challenges of moving towards a greater accessibility of research. Not all OA initiatives are equal.  Green Open Access, by far the commonest kind, refers to the depositing of a non-final version of the published manuscript into a research repository – generally either an institutional repository (managed by the university with which the researcher is affiliated), a subject-specific repository (such as ArXiv/SocArXiv), an academic networking website such as, ResearchGate, or Mendeley, or a personal website.  Various publishers have rules on what version can be posted where and when, with the most common being that accepted manuscripts (after peer-review, but before proofreading and typesetting) can be made public in repositories after an embargo period, while the “version of record” – the published version – may not be shared publicly for free.  The published article remains accessible only with paid access (with publishers either explicitly authorizing (SAGE) or tacitly tolerating the private sharing of full articles.”