Green Open Access

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Jorge Contreras:

"Over the past several decades, the cost of scientific journals has risen precipitously, causing many academic libraries, particularly those in the developing world, to curtail their subscriptions drastically. This phenomenon, popularly known as the "serials crisis", has had the effect of limiting knowledge flow to the developing world and limiting the ability of developing world researchers to participate fully in the global scientific community.

In response to the "serials crisis", new models of scientific publishing began to emerge in the 1990s under the general banner of "open access". One such approach, popularly termed "green" open access, encourages researchers to post versions of their published articles on academic websites or self-archiving sites, making them broadly available without charge. One recent study found that approximately 12 per cent of the scientific literature published in 2008 can be found in green open access archives.

Another approach that has gained significant traction is "gold" open access publishing, in which journals make their entire contents freely available online, but charge publication fees to authors. Gold open access ventures such as the Public Library of Science and BioMed Central have attracted the backing of numerous influential scientists and support from major philanthropic organisations. One study found that in 2009 nearly 200,000 peer-reviewed articles were published in 4,769 gold open access journals, representing between 6 per cent and 8 per cent of the total peer-reviewed scientific literature published that year. Open access journals have thus seen impressive gains in just a decade, even as the large majority of peer-reviewed scientific output continues to appear in commercial, limited-access journals." (

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