Green Road first!

The ULg actively supports the Green Road for Open Access, on an institutional level of course with ORBi, but also on a Belgian and European level. The Green Road allows scientists and academics to publish where they wish whilst rendering their publications available to all via open repositories or archives.

Why this commitment to the Green Road?

  • It enables a better visibility for the research centers, and researchers above all, of francophone research.
  • It is the only one which is financially viable for institutions over the long term.
  • It is the fairest model to favor a widespread dissemination of academic and scientific publications, without a gulf being established between the different areas of research, laboratories and universities.
  • It allows universities and other institutions which are setting up depositing systems to develop tools and services with high value added around them, as well as new indicators to measure the impact their researchers have.
  • Because of this model researchers and institutions have the possibility of preserving the publications which stem from their research in a perennial manner.
  • Thanks to the Green Road researchers can themselves be active in the dissemination of their publications.


And the Gold Road? The ULg considers that the Gold Road, which consistsof publishing directly in journals on Open Access, is only an addition to the Green Road. Very seductive when these journals are supported by genuine partisans of Open Access who only ask authors for limited or even zero publication costs (see the journals hosted by PoPuPs), this road can quickly become a double edged sword when it is taken by actors looking to make a profit. Then it is unfortunately more and more comparable to the ‘author-payer' model with the costs per article asked of authors becoming really prohibitive (between 1000 and over 3000€/perarticle!). A genuine financial windfall for commercial publishers but also for not very scrupulous new actors who benefit from this opportunity to develop a very lucrative business…to the detriment of researchers and institutions! If limits are not set out this solution could rapidly prove even more costly than the commercial model for institutions.All benefits for others. Certain commercial publishers do not hesitate to actively lobby for models which are more profitable for them to be broadly favored.

This activity thus threatens the genuine philosophy of Open Access :

  • In the United States, the Research Work Act, supported by the American publishers' association, the AAP, and the Copyright Alliance, aimed to restrict free access to academic and scientific publications by leaving the choice with just the publishers. See The Research Works Act: a threat to Open Access.
  • In the United Kingdom, following the publication of the Finch Report, the British government has affirmed its support for Open Access for the publication of research financed out of public funds…but via the Gold Way. This could ultimately mean, for certain universities, an increase in expenditure!
  • In Germany the principle research funding agency (the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), in a report published in July 2012, has also chosento privilege the Gold Road!

For all these reasons the University of Liège considers that a new concept has to be developed to ensure the complementary role of the Golden Road beside the Green Road: it's the‘Fair Gold' concept. This is to establish a model defining the reasonable costs related to peer reviewing and to the publishing in Open Access that can be endorsed by the author, without lavish benefits.

The University of Liege is not the only one to favour the Green Road. For example:

  • The French Association of University Library Directors (ABDU)
    On 24 october 2012, the ABDU comes down strongly in favor of the Green Road.
  • The European Union's position
    The EU privileges the Green Road as a means of disseminating the research which it funds, the Gold Way being acceptable only in certain conditions. As far as the hybrid model, or Open choice, is concerned, it will not be supported in any conditions

    The EU's recommendation, « Towards better access to scientific information », defines the objectives concerning free access for Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme:

    • 2014: the free access policies for academic and scientific data and articles will have been established by all the member states at every relevant level.
    • 2016: the percentage of academic and scientific on studies financed by public funds available on open access within the EU will have to rise from 20% to 60 %.
    • 2020: 100 % of the academic and scientific publications stemming from Horizon 2020 will have to be available in Open Access.
Ambitious goals made possible by different measures, in particular the setting up of a European open archive, OpenAIRE, with which ORBi is compatible.