Green Publishers in Chemistry

My blog comments seem to be giving people a lot of problems. Stevan Harnad comments:

Peter Murray-Rust writes: “Most chemistry publishing is closed access, not even allowing Green self-archiving (unless paid for). There is no sign that any of the major closed publishers (ACS, RSC, Wiley, Springer, Elsevier, Nature) are likely to change in the immediate future.”

Peter is right that ACS is likely to be the last of all publishers to go Green on OA self-archiving (, but he is mistaken about most of the others on his list (see ):

ACS: gray
Wiley: GREEN
Springer: GREEN
Elsevier: GREEN
Nature: pale-green

Stevan Harnad

PMR: Thanks Stevan. I am happy to be corrected on Wiley, Springer and Elsevier. I seem to remember that the RSC (sic) announced it was Green ca. 2 years ago. That got into Romeo but then they said they weren’t green after all and it was a mistake.

I am also not really clear any more what pale-green is. I assume “gray” means neither gold nor green.

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One Response to Green Publishers in Chemistry

  1. (1) Pale-green means the publisher endorses the self-archiving of the author’s draft but not the final refereed postprint (though often what the publisher really means by the postprint is the publisher’s PDF).
    The difference between the author’s penultimate draft and the final, refereed draft is of course a purely notional one, and no faintly coherent case for the distinction could ever be made in a court of law. So although some superstitious authors make a distinction between pale-green publishers and green publishers, of course there is in reality no substantive difference: Both have given their blessing to the self-archiving of the author’s final draft.
    (2) The RSC has some royal double-talk in its contracts. They say they endorse depositing it on the author’s “personal website”, but not the author’s “institutional repository”:
    “When the author signs the exclusive Licence to Publish for a journal article, he/she retains certain rights that may be exercised without reference to the RSC. He/she may…
    Photocopy the article and distribute such photocopies and distribute copies of the PDF… for personal or professional use only, provided that any such copies are not offered for sale…  
    Adapt the article and reproduce adaptations of the article for any purpose other than the commercial exploitation of a work similar to the original…  
    Make available the PDF of the article mentioned above via the personal website(s) of the author(s)…
    This is of course arbitrary gibberish, and again only for the credulous and the superstitious. All RSC authors can self-archive their final drafts in their own IRs with perfect impunity. A “personal website” is merely a disk sector label. For the pedant, the university can (as Southampton ECS has done since 2002) formally declare an author’s IR disk sector to be the author’s “personal website”:
    “3e. Copyright agreements may state that eprints can be archived on your personal homepage. As far as publishers are concerned, the EPrint Archive is a part of the Department’s infrastructure for your personal homepage.”
    In a few years we will be giggling shame-facedly at the stuff and nonsense that stayed (most of) us from going ahead and doing the optimal, inevitable and obvious for so long.

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