10 November 2007

More on Brass and Platinum

No sooner had my last comment on the topic of Green, Gold (aka Brass) and Platinum hit cyberspace than Peter Suber comes up with yet another bit of misleading information, this time from Jan Velterop, who, in his own Weblog, notes:

Applied to OA, ‘green’ and ‘gold’ are qualifiers of a different order. ‘Gold’ is straightforward: you pay for the service of being published in a peer-reviewed journal and your article is unambiguously Open Access. ‘Green’, however, is little more than an indulgence allowed by the publisher. This, for most publishers at least, is fine, as long as it doesn’t undermine their capability to make money with the work they do. But a 'green' policy is reversible.

Of course, Velterop is entirely right that the Green route of open archiving is dependent, at present, on the 'indulgence' of the publishers - I have suggested elsewhere that open archiving can only be a temporary approach to open access, since either the publishers may withdraw their permissions, or what I have called the Platinum Route, or, possibly more likely, some alternative process of scholarly communication will come to dominate.

However, Velterop conveys the same mis-information about the Gold (Brass) route as I drew attention to in that earlier post: the statement that it involves paying the publisher to open up access. This is true for commercial publishers, but not for those journals, like Information Research, that are published freely on the basis of subsidy and collaborative effort.

I can see that I am going to have to keep on plugging away at this distinction for as long as the notion of 'Gold' is used ambiguously for all OA journals, whether they author charge or not. Let's get into the entirely sensible habit of referring to Platinum for the latter.