Green open access refers to the possibility to make subscription-based journal articles open access by uploading the peer-reviewed and accepted author manuscript to an institutional repository (such as DiVA). This article version is also known as post-print. In most cases, you are not allowed to use the publisher's typeset PDF version of the article. This option is offered by most publishers. Green open access doesn't involve any costs and also meets the research funders' open access requirements as long as the embargo period is not too long. This type of open access is also called parallel publishing or self-archiving.
In many cases, however, there is a time embargo from its publishing date to when you can make it open access. Such an embargo can vary between 6 to 48 months depending on the publisher and to which discipline the journal belongs. The humanities and social sciences have usually longer embargo periods than such disciplines as medicine, physics and biomedicine.
The advantages of green open access are:
- It is free
- Most publishers allow green open access
- Meets most research funders' open access policy as long as the embargo period is not too long
- You can choose a subscription-based journal that matches your manuscript and at the same time make the article open access
- Since Google Scholar indexes the contents of institutional repositories (such as DiVA) the article will appear there with a link to the full text (the post-print) which makes it possible for those who haven't got access to the journal to be able to read it. Otherwise, the link would only lead to the abstract and the option to pay for the full-text article.
The disadvantages of green open access are:
- The embargo times
- You have to be sure to save (and remember where you have saved it) the post-print on your computer!
Jönköping University Library checks all subscription-based articles that we register in DiVA (JU) to see what green open access possibilities there are. We send an email enquiry to the author and ask for the post-print, that is, the refereed and accepted manuscript, and if we receive it we upload it into DiVA and add a cover page with a link to publisher's article version. If there is an embargo we set the date when it is to be made available online. We will also send a reminder when this happens so that the author can use this post-print for sharing, for example on research networks such as ResearchGate and Academia.
See example in DiVA.
Controlling the publishers' copyright policies
The database used by the library when checking publishers' copyright policies, especially their green open access possibilities is SHERPA/RoMEO. In this database you can find out the following details about a journal's or publisher's open access possibilities:
- Does the publisher allow you to upload a pre-print of the article, i.e. the author manuscript before peer review and acceptance?
- Does the publisher allow you to upload a post-print of the article, i.e. the author manuscript after peer review and acceptance (green open access)?
- Does the publisher allow you to upload the publisher's typeset PDF version (publisher's version/PDF) of the article?
- Is there any embargo included?
SHERPA/RoMEO uses colour codes to distinguish the different types of archiving policies (remember that the most important thing is to look at the basic information about the policy since the colour coding might be a bit misleading in some cases):
Let us look at an example of a journal published by Elsevier:
From the information above we then know the following:
- You can upload the pre-print version of the article in the institutional repository (for example DiVA)
- You can upload the post-print version of the article in the institutional repository (for example DiVA)
- You can not upload the publisher's version of the article in the institutional repository (for example DiVA)
- Even though you are allowed to upload the post-print directly, this only refers to cases where you upload it on your website, if you want to upload the post-print in the institutional repository (DiVA) there is an embargo period of 12 to 48 months depending on the journal
- To check the embargo period for this particular journal, you have to click on the link Journal Embargo List
Browsing through this list we can then see that there is a 12-month embargo for this journal. You can therefore make it freely available in DiVA 12 months after it has been published.
Publishing and copyright