(11 December 2020) In response to a recent blog post on the OASPA website authored by several publishers’ representatives, COAR would like to underscore the critical role of Open Access repositories in accelerating innovation in scholarly communications and the adoption of Open Access and Open Science.
OA repositories (referred to as green OA in the blog) are central for achieving equitable open access to research outputs worldwide. Many researchers around the world do not have the means to pay OA publishing fees (APCs), nor do their governments or institutions have money for transformational agreements. Justice, equity, and fairness are fundamental principles that need to be respected in the transition to full Open Access.
Furthermore, the notions expressed around the version of record are increasingly extraneous in a web-enabled, dynamic environment where researchers can share preprints immediately, peers can review and comment openly, and articles can be continually updated, amended, and extended – something that can be supported and advanced through the repository route. These types of innovations are on the horizon (for example, see eLife’s recent announcement about moving to a publish then review model). It’s time to move beyond the antiquated notion of the version of record that was developed in the print era.
We would also like to clarify a few inaccuracies contained in the blog post:
- The original definition of open access as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative included two paths: OA journals and OA repositories. Depositing an article in an OA repository without embargo is full open access.
- OA repositories provide access to the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM), which is not an inferior version to the published paper. The text contained in the AAM is the same as in the publishers’ formatted version. The COAR version vocabulary is used by repositories to help researchers distinguish between versions.
- OA repositories can easily link to related content held elsewhere, including published versions, datasets, and other related materials.
- Articles in OA repositories are discoverable through major discovery systems including Google Scholar, Unpaywall, OpenAIRE, CORE, LA Referencia and so on. Researchers do not need to search through individual repositories to find the articles contained in repositories.
Repositories and green OA have been a fundamental element of the origins and development of Open Access and are a central component of the current open infrastructure landscape. They are an indispensable building block for the establishment of a sustainable, equitable, innovative and community-driven research communication ecosystem.
The development of a global knowledge commons is what is most important for COAR, and many others that are truly interested in progressing Open Access and Open Science.
Kathleen Shearer, on behalf of COAR
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