Open Access: Green, Gold and Diamond

Fecha de la noticia: 13-11-2017

acceso abierto, open access, datos abiertos,open data

Based on Peter Suber's definition of Open Access (Guide to the Open Access Movement), it could be say that open access to digital content refers to its free availability on the Internet, allowing it to be read, downloaded, copied, printed, distributed, searched for, subpoenaed or given any other legal use thereof by anyone, without any type of financial, legal or technical barrier (without the need to register, subscribe or pay). The only restriction regarding distribution and reproduction would be to grant authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to have it be recognized and properly cited.

Initially, the definition was focused on articles from scientific research journals with the peer review system, but has now been extended to all types of digital content (texts, databases, software, video, multimedia…) and to all fields.

This movement promotes the elimination of barriers (economic, legal and/or technological), which in turn obtains greater visibility for the authors and increases the accessibility of their work.

The foundations of the Open Access movement are established in the “The BBB International Declarations”, which outline the definition and criteria that make up the concept and to which numerous international organizations adhere to:  Budapest Declaration (2002), Bethesda Declaration (2003) and the Berlin Declaration (2003).

There are several ways in which open access can be provided, two of the most common methods being: green access and gold access.

With green access, also known as “self-archiving”:

  • Authors archive articles in open access repositories (for example, in the institutional repository of the organization the author belongs to).
  • Different versions can be deposited, such as the version without peer review, the version already reviewed by peers although without the editing process, or the final version of the article (already edited).
  • Both the unedited version and the edited version have the same content (peer-reviewed), but may have a different graphic style and format.
  • Usually, the deposit is made after an embargo period agreed on with the editors of the commercial scientific journals where the article will be published. During the time of the embargo, the version edited by the commercial magazine is available for a fee.
  • One drawback to this access route is that a large part of the items deposited are those that have not yet been peer reviewed.
  • This model is mostly promoted by the open access community.

With gold access, also known as an open access journal publication:

  • Open access journals offer the option of immediately publishing articles in open access (having gone through a peer review process).
  • An open access journal may or may not charge a publication fee per article. Usually the publications costs are covered by the authors, although it is often the research funding body or the institution that the research/author is assigned to who pays.
  • This model is mostly promoted by the community of scientific editors.

Are these all the options? Well, lately people have been talking about a third access route, diamond access. This third formula tries to solve the drawbacks of the two previous models. To do this, it imitates the gold access route (which offers peer review), but in this case the author or institution doesn't have to pay since the review and editing is done by volunteers who do not receive any financial compensation, and who are instead motivated by scientific progress, academic recognition and social good. In principle, this model solves the weak aspects of the previous models: the cost (of the gold route) and the lack of peer review (of the green route).

It remains to be determined which of the three access routes will be the most successful when it comes to achieving their mission: to facilitate open access to research and to promote scientific dissemination. But in any case, the proposal and development of all of these access routes demonstrate that the open access to knowledge movement is very much on the agenda of the scientific community.