Bonnie's Library Tips

How green is your journal?

As the author you can assure long term, public access to your scholarly writing. Ideally, you will be able to find an appropriate, peer-reviewed, open access journal. The Directory of Open Access Journals can help you assess your options.

Regardless of where you publish, you should consider depositing a pre-publication version of your article in OSU’s ScholarsArchive. Items in the ScholarsArchive are accessible. You can then also provide the citation and link to the published version as well. Some journals allow you to deposit the post-publication/formatted file after a specified time lag. You can learn more about “self-archiving” at:

If you support a journal with contributions of your time as an editor or for peer review you may want to know if it supports the authors’ right to self-archive. The Sherpa/RoMEO website provides information on these policies for many journals. They have developed a four color code for describing copyright transfer agreements with respect to self-archiving:

  • Green permits archiving the pre-publication print and post-publication print
  • Blue permits archiving the post-publication print (final draft post-refereeing)
  • Yellow permits archiving the pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)
  • White permits neither

Assuring public access to the scholarly information produced by OSU researchers is largely under your control as author. At some point in the publishing process, you will be asked to sign a copyright transfer agreement for the journal publisher. It is true that the formal journal “frame” in which your article appears has value — it indicates peer review for example. But before you sign away your rights, consider how you might want to re-use that content in the future.

  • Will you be able to revised this article and publish it later a book or as part of a website?
  • Will you retain the right to be informed and/or decline if the publisher wants to re-use your article as a chapter in a book?

You have choices when negotiating the language of the copyright transfer agreement. You can add an author addendum to publisher’s contract. Some very helpful models and suggestions for “what to do if” are available from the UC Berkeley Library. If you have questions regarding the ScholarsArchive and/or retaining your author rights, contact your subject librarian.

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