What is it about?

In this opinion piece, I present evidence that Green and Gold Open Access are still far from making all scholarly journal articles and books open and that this failure has allowed pirate sites like SciHub to emerge. I argue that the failure of Green and Gold is rooted in stakeholders' preference to avoid change compounded by the scale of the change needed. As a solution, I propose looking for inspiration at low-cost airlines and their success in democratising air travel by unbundling the traditional airline business model.

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Why is it important?

All stakeholders in scholarly communications agree that scholarship (journals and books) should be open for anyone to read online. Yet, 20 years after the Open Access movement was launched, half of journal articles and nearly all books remain behind paywalls. Policymakers and funders are, understandably, losing patience, so something needs to be done. Since the pace of change is so slow (and shows no signs of picking up), I argue that Green and Gold are part of the problem and propose that it's time to change direction.


This is an opinion piece which draws on a wide range of existing literature. I hope it is thought-provoking and stimulates a reasoned discussion in the community about how to accelerate the move to make all scholarship free to read online.

Toby Green
Coherent Digital LLC

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: We've failed: Pirate black open access is trumping green and gold and we must change our approach, Learned Publishing, September 2017, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/leap.1116.
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