Researchers
November 11, 2020

Understanding the "Green" and "Gold" of Open-Access Publishing

Scientific publication of literature has its roots traditionally in paper format, but the advent of the Digital Era has adjusted how researchers publish their work and how readers access the information. Now, open access publications offer information freely on never before seen levels. But determining which of the mountains of information is what you’re looking for can be the hard part sometimes. Part of the confusion is because of things like “green” and “gold” in open-access publishing that needs to be better understood.

For centuries, scientific literature was published in paper formats, until the Digital Era redefined how the entire world operated. Now, researchers and publishers must take entirely new avenues of publishing theories and ideas into consideration before they get their knowledge out to their audience.

Open access publications are one of the newest, and most impactful, forums that have adjusted the academic landscape over the past decade. These publications offer information for free on massive levels, letting readers submit queries, review possible journals and articles regarding their search, and weed through the many potential sources of information to find what they are looking for. This is a great idea in theory, but can create a lot of confusion if the user doesn’t know how to determine good information from bad. One of the areas of confusion is in the color-coding of open access publications, and learning what “gold” and “green” mean can help make the switch to open-access over traditional printed mediums of publishing an easier experience.

Why Open Access Platforms Became Popular

As billions of people move into the Digital Era, scholars have had to adjust how they get their work out to their audience. People now turn to their devices for immediate answers to their questions, and scholars have shifted their publication mediums to things like blogs, social media forums, and for-free open access journals. These mediums allow readers to have instant access without cost to them to read the content, but open access publication methods give readers free content but charge the researchers to publish their work there.

Although they must pay a fee to be seen on the site, the benefits of open access usually more than make up for this price tag. The more the content is viewed, freely, from an audience, especially on a reputable publication site, the higher the chances are that the researcher’s work is cited. With those higher citation numbers comes a greater scholarly impact rating, and with that improved rating come significant advantages for the academic.

What Do the “Gold” and “Green” Mean?

More than any color rating, you first need to make sure you have a reputable publisher. There are lots of predator companies now preying on researchers who are desperate to get their work online, but reputability counts. The reputation of your paper correlates strongly with your own academic reputation. Open access journals are strongly recommended for authors, now, though, so that everyone has access to your work, regardless of where they are in the world. With that access, they also have the ability to cite it, bringing up your scholarly impact.

Inside those open access forums, though, you’ll have the potential of gold or green access, and you need to know the difference between the two colors. The main difference is that with gold, your article is published in the online open access publication site, whereas with green, your article is published in a written journal first and then self-archived online.

●      Gold open access is so called when you as the author publish your article in an online open access journal first. Your publication is readily and freely accessible to everyone, giving you a premier ability to get your work used immediately for a quicker, wider impact. There are open content licenses so you have more visibility, as well.

●      Green open access is less broad when it comes to licensing. The scientific exploitation of your work has to follow the copyright law within the limits of how it was published originally. You have to check your contract before submitting your work for open access use, even though you are self-archiving it. It more than likely depends on the publishing house you chose and their embargo period that has to be followed before you are able to make your article freely available.

To provide you with the most freedom, publishing in gold open access forums is, of course, more advisable. However, if that is not possible, green is still a good way to get your work out to a wider audience.

Tags Open Access Research Researchers
Jason Collins
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Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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