The gold and the green roads to Open Access


Stevan Harnad, Canada Research Chair, Canada Research Chair, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
Open Access (OA) is optimal and inevitable for the research community because it maximises research usage and impact, hence also progress and productivity. There are two roads to OA, however, and Open Access Journal Publishing, the "golden road," is only one of them, and neither the fastest nor the surest, because its cost-recovery model has not yet been tested enough for sustainability and because it would take a long time to convert 24,000 peer-reviewed journals into OA Journals. (Only about 1000 of them, <5%, are OA so far.) The green road to OA is to continue publishing in non-OA journals when there is no suitable gold journal, but to self-archive one's articles in one's own OAI-compliant institutional Eprint Archive. Over 80% of journals have already given their green light to author self-archiving, but self-archiving is still far from using its full potential to provide immediate OA. What are needed are empirical demonstrations of the dramatic causal effect of OA on citation impact along with a formal extension of universities' existing publish-or-perish policies to include providing OA for all the university's refereed research article putput.