October 21, 2019, by Communications

Open Access week 2019: Green or Gold routes

When you publish by traditional routes, as an author you typically grant all your rights as author and copyright owner to the publisher. It doesn’t belong to you anymore. This means that if you want to do anything with your work, such as making it available on a website (like ResearchGate) or re-use a figure in another publication, then you will need to seek permission from the publisher.

Open access provides a simple mechanism for you to retain rights over your published material that otherwise would be transferred to the publisher.

What is open access?

Open access means that the work has been licenced by the copyright owner for use in some of the ways that otherwise might require their specific permission. Open access publishing is an increasingly common way to publish academic research. All open access materials are free to view and download. They also allow you to permit others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of your work.

Benefits include

  • Accelerated discovery of your work
  • Public awareness of research
  • Growing talentby making your work available to educators

Funder requirements

Many UK and European Commission funders make it a condition of your funding that you must publish open access, and you can include any costs into your grant as an eligible expense. But the Malaysian government doesn’t make it a condition of the funding. And so its more difficult to justify such costs. I’m sure things are set to change in the future. Global trends towards increasing transparency and accessibility of information make it likely that at some point in the near future, research funded by public money (i.e. government grants) will be required to be freely available to the public.

If you have funding, the route is paved with gold

The ‘gold’ route describes situations when you publish your work with immediate open access rights. The publisher will commonly charge a fee to do this.

The grass is greener on the other side!

The ‘green’ route describes traditional publishing situations. Although the publisher retains copyright, you can deposit your article in an online archive after a pre-defined embargo period. During the embargo, access to your work is not allowed for people who have not paid for access (or don’t have access through their institution). The purpose of the embargo is to ensure publishers have the revenue to support their activities. On Thursday, I’ll explain in a blog how the University of Nottingham supports this green route.

For more details, please refer to the RKE handbook.

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