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Green Open Access or Gold Open Access? Which open access publishing model works best for you?

As this week is International Open Access Week 2019, the Charlesworth Author Services education team will participate in this year’s theme ‘Open for whom? Equity in open knowledge’. If you missed our free webinar ‘Understanding Open Access publishing to maximise your career potential’ you can listen to it by visiting here  

Why not check out our Twitter feed @CWGAuthors to read some short Open Access (OA) explainers? 

Although the OA movement continues to gather pace within the academic research community and scholarly publishing, most notably via the European Union sponsored Plan S, we find that early-career researchers (ECRs) remain confused about what OA means for them and their careers. How can you make decisions about which journals to publish your work in and understand the definitions used in the OA world? 

We fielded lots of questions from ECRs at the end of our most recent webinar, including: ‘what’s the difference between green and gold OA publishing?’ This is a very common area of confusion as academic researchers tend to think in binary terms about their work: it will either be freely available to all or it won’t. Thus, confusion abounds, especially around the different OA models created by the publishing industry: is it better to go ‘green’ or ‘gold’ with your next paper?

Imagine you’ve completed a piece of research and are thinking about writing it up for a journal. You’re now confronted with a series of choices, the most important of which is journal selection. A large number of academic journals are now completely OA and publish articles according to the ‘gold’ model: this means that all content is free to access and download immediately on publication. Sounds good, but the downside (from an author’s perspective) of this model is that an article processing charge (APC) is usually levied by the publisher. This cost is often a huge issue for academic authors, for obvious reasons. 

The other alternative is to go ‘green’. This OA model refers to the publication of an article in any journal preceded or followed by the archiving of a copy in a freely accessible institutional or specialist online archive known as a repository, or on a website. Most often the ‘green’ model is free-of-charge for authors, but the version that is archived is usually not the final published (typeset) paper but rather a preprint or text document.

Gold = Final published article and all data are completely OA but usually involves an APC

Green = Preprint archived, final published article not OA, no cost to author

We can help you navigate the confusing journal selection step of the publishing process by providing target journal suggestions for your next research paper. We also provide consultancy services where one of our expert editors will work with you as you put your next paper together. Why not get in touch with us to discuss your publishing options? 

We know that researchers globally do tend to support OA publishing: The instincts of ECRs especially are that OA is a good thing and that articles and data should be freely accessible. However, ECR OA publishing aspirations are not always consistent with career goals; at the end of the day, who would turn down the chance to publish their work in a leading high impact factor journal with a great reputation in the field? OA might then becomes a secondary concern.

Our Charlesworth Author Services team also provides a range of expert English language editing services and consultancy services all designed to significantly enhance your chances of being successfully published in your preferred journal. 

Why not get in touch with a member of our Charlesworth Author Services team for more information, and get your paper and grant writing edited and polished by one of our PhD-level specialists working in your research field? To find out more, click here. 

Our academic writing and publishing training courses, online materials, and blog articles contain numerous tips and tricks to help you navigate academic writing and publishing, and maximise your potential as a researcher. More details can be found here. 

Maximise your publication success with Charlesworth Author Services.

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