Exploring Green Open Access Publishing: An Overview on Its Pros and Cons!

Open Access (OA) stands as a transformative force in scholarly publishing, embodying the principle of unrestricted knowledge dissemination. At its core, OA ensures that scholarly works are freely accessible online to all, eliminating barriers such as paid subscriptions. This unfettered distribution of research findings holds profound significance for authors, readers, and funders alike. Two primary pathways exist within the realm of open access: Gold Open Access and Green Open Access.

In the following piece, we delve into the realm of Green Open Access publishing, shedding light on its advantages and disadvantages.

What is Green Open Access?
Also known as self-archiving, Green Open Access (OA) involves uploading an author’s manuscript to an institutional repository, thereby granting free access to everyone. It’s worth noting that the version of the article made openly accessible, either before (preprint) or after (post-print) peer review, distinguishes it from Gold OA. In Green OA, publishers or affiliated societies typically retain copyright for these articles.

Each open-access (OA) journal or publisher establishes its own policies regarding self-archiving, specifying which version of an article may be openly accessible in a repository and under what conditions. This process, often referred to as an embargo period, entails identifying the appropriate article version and uploading it to the institutional repository.

Examples of platforms supporting Green Open Access include IOP Publishing, Springer Nature, and Elsevier, among others.

Difference between Gold Open Access and Green Open Access
Although both Green Open Access and Gold Open Access aim to make scientific research openly available, they diverge in their methods and implications.

Gold Open Access entails making the definitive published version of an article readily and perpetually accessible online, without cost barriers for readers. Conversely, Green Open Access involves authors self-archiving a version of their manuscript in a repository, thus enabling free access to everyone.

These two approaches embody distinct pathways toward the broader dissemination of knowledge, each with its own advantages and considerations.

Pros of Green Open Access

  • Publishing on Green Open Access platforms is free.
  • Most publishers allow Green Open Access.
  • It meets OA policy of most research funders if the embargo period is not too long.
  • The author can choose a subscription-based journal for the article and make the article OA, simultaneously.
  • The OA article will appear with a link to the full text, as Google Scholar indexes contents of institutional repositories.

Cons of Green Open Access

  • The prolonged embargo times can lead to delayed publishing of topical research, which may not be relevant at that time.
  • Since, the articles are self-archived, the authors must save and remember the file path of the saved post-print.
  • The article in the repository may not reflect revisions immediately.
  • Some journals and publishers have imposed several restrictions on self-archiving.

Green Open Access involves publishing the accepted manuscript devoid of the publisher’s formatting and typesetting. While many publishers permit the dissemination of the final version, it becomes universally accessible typically after a 12-month embargo period following its publication in a journal issue. This practice of sharing research findings enhances the body of literature, fosters scientific advancement, and serves to empower society as a whole.

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