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Open Access Week: Going Green & Funder Mandates

Posted in Open Access

The roads leading to Open Access:

In the previous posts, we focused on the major transformative agreements that CSUN has with publishers Elsevier and ACS; We also looked at other issues related to covering article processing charges (APCs). APCs are generally the main way that publishers recoup costs associated with open access publishing. This is also known by the name Gold Open Access.

However, another method, working in parallel to Gold OA, is Green Open Access, also known as ‘self-archiving’. The difference is that pre-print drafts or unformatted final versions of papers, like those submitted in the sciences to preprint servers (i.e. ArXiv), are posted online in an institutional repository. This is provided as a free service usually, and so one of the main drawbacks of Gold open access – its cost – is circumvented. As seen in the diagram below, there are many paths to Open Access, including a hybrid of Gold and Closed, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Often, researchers see the speed of dissemination as a key advantage to Green OA, providing a platform for early review and release of important cutting-edge information. This has been especially useful for physics and the health sciences.

At CSUN, our Green OA institutional repository is ScholarWorks, which also houses CSUN student theses. Participation is simple: contact us and we will make efforts to add permitted versions of your work (sometimes a final version is OK too) to ScholarWorks so that it can be easily accessed without price barriers. You can also archive your own works into the IR.

Ultimately, the Green and Gold paths are equally important avenues toward universal open access, but they have distinct differences. Keep these in mind as you consider participating in the open acess movement!

For more information about open access at CSUN, including our policies, and step-by-step procedures for self archiving, see these pages here.

Copyright or ‘copy wronged’?

Certainly, one of the main problems with the current academic publishing model has been the transfer of copyrights – including the right to repost your paper online – to the publishers, resulting in a significant amount of closed access research. The large-scale transfer of rights to publishers has helped them to gain control over the intellectual property of research that often has been funded by and for public institutions. The right to control what happens to the work is given over to the publishers for the sake of satisfying a long-term revenue stream built upon scarcity of information. Yet this is arguably contrary to the stated missions of our research and educational institutions.

In that regard, placing one’s draft or unformatted version of a paper into Green OA becomes as much an issue of supporting the rights of faculty to disseminate their research as they see fit without having to agree with the business practices of large publishers aiming to expand their market share and maximize their revenues.

While CSUN has a Faculty Senate Resolution supporting open access, this dates back to 2013. Much has changed since. A new direction might be found in the newer more aggressive stances found in Open Access mandates, which would indicate to publishers that the faculty and administrators at CSUN are serious about retaining control over the copyright of the published research they produce.


Of course, sometimes researchers are required by their funders and other organizations to make their works freely and publicly available. Starting during the Obama Administration, the open access funder mandate for sharing results and data was limited primarily to Federal Agencies with budgets over $100 million, including Department of Defense, Department of Education, NIH, NSF, NOAA, USDA, and others.

Compliance with these has been required since 2013, though there are details and exceptions specific to each of their directives. At the very least, data must be shared in approved repositories and publications must be posted in appropriate open access venues within a year of completion.

Recently, however, a new White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo on Open Access was released, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research”.

The main changes in this new policy are that the rule now applies to all federal agencies and all federally funded research, rather than just those agencies with massive budgets. Some argue, like the UC system’s Office of Scholarly Communication, that “this could place pressure on publishers to abandon the paywall model and transition to business models centered on full open access publishing — putting scientific information into the hands of the public who often fund it with taxpayer dollars.” While the OSTP’s memo might not phase out paywalls overnight, the direction it indicates is promising. With enough backing, open access mandates like these will change the way research is disseminated.

Second, the policy also emphasizes that “federal agencies should allow researchers to include reasonable publication costs” in their grant budgets. This means that grant writers can include costs of publication in their proposals, providing them with the means to cover the mandate built into the grant.

Finally, the previous Obama-era memo allowed for a one-year grace period before requiring open publication of research, but the new memo calls for research to be “immediately available to the American public at no cost.” No longer will there be a delay in the access, an embargo period which has been encouraged by publishers so that the paywall model can persist, despite the need for more immediate release of some information. Imagine that some of the most important COVID-19 studies were withheld from the public for the sake of preserving a large company’s already large bottom line.

Contact us

For more information about Green Open Access, Funder Mandates, or the new OSTP memo on Open Access, please contact the members of the University Library Open access team. We’re here to support you!

Andrew Weiss | Digital Services Librarian |

Chris Bulock | Collection Development Coordinator, Chair CAMS department |

David Morck | Web Programmer |

Elizabeth Altman | Library Web Services Coordinator |

Richard Thai | ScholarWorks Assistant |