In May 2014, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and several international organizations published a statement supporting the “immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles”. Since then, a number of other organizations have endorsed this statement.

COAR strongly supports the “green road” for open access by means of the immediate deposit of published articles into open access (OA) repositories, with short or no embargo periods. Repeated claims by some publishers and their representatives that immediate access to articles via OA repositories will have a negative impact on their subscriptions have not been substantiated by evidence. Indeed, a 2-year pilot project by Taylor & Francis found that dropping embargo periods increased the number of authors that wanted to publish in those journals. A growing body of other findings reinforces these results and points to the absence of evidence that short embargo periods harm subscription publishers.

COAR is keenly aware of the need for appropriate financial support for scholarly communication. However, it is increasingly clear that the article-processing fee model favoured by many commercial publishers, while suitable for some, cannot scale globally and will ultimately result in disadvantaging a large number of researchers who cannot afford to pay. The green road offers a sustainable global approach for OA in which all countries and regions can participate.

July 8, 2014