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Author-Archived Open Access (Green)

Many authors publish articles in journals that only provide access to paid subscribers. These authors can still often provide more universal access by posting a version of their articles on an open website that hosts scholarly research publications. These sites, called repositories, may be managed by a particular university or associated with a specific discipline. This type of open access is sometimes called “Green” open access to distinguish it from publisher-hosted or “Gold” open access.

Journal articles are the most common type of previously published work that authors put in open access repositories. It is less likely that authors will be able to deposit other works, like books, because of the agreements authors sign with publishers.

Institutional Repositories

Hundreds of universities in the United States – and thousands around the world – host open access institutional repositories to highlight the research and publications of their faculty. The eScholarship repository and publishing platform enables the UC academic community to post previously published works as well as publish new materials such as books, journals, conference proceedings and electronic theses and dissertations.

Subject Repositories

Subject repositories are open to scholars all over the world who publish work in a particular discipline. Some of the larger ones include:

  • RePEc: Research Papers in Economics
  • arXiv: Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics
  • SSRN: Social Science Research Network
  • PubMed Central: Biomedicine and Life Sciences

Copyright and Contracts

Many publishers require authors to sign a publishing agreement as a condition of publication. These agreements spell out the rights of the authors and the publishers, and often restrict an author’s right to post a publication in an open access repository.

UC Open Access Policies

UC authors are covered by the UC Open Access Policies. These policies allow authors to post scholarly articles in eScholarship or another repository if the article was written late enough to be covered by a policy. Learn more about the UC Open Access Policies.

Publications not covered by the UC Open Access Policies

The UC Open Access Policies does not give authors rights to post

  • articles written by authors who are not UC employees (e.g. many students);
  • articles for which an agreement was signed before the policies were passed;
  • articles for which authors have obtained a waiver of the policy;
  • publications that are not “scholarly articles,” e.g., books, popular articles, musical scores, creative fiction, etc.

For any of these publications, you will want to check your publishing agreement to see what conditions you agreed to before attempting to post in a repository. If you have not yet signed a publishing agreement for an article you want to post, and you are not a UC employee, you can use the SPARC author addendum to modify an agreement that doesn’t give you the rights you need. If you don’t have your old agreements, or want to know about the policies of journals you’re thinking about publishing in, you can search the SHERPA/RoMEO database to find out which publishers and journals allow open access archiving.

For more in depth information about copyright, visit the UC Copyright site.


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