An author friend flagged up some problems with Green Open Access (OA):
A common and baseline important thing: referencing, and the æsthetics and readability of the text.
- Can the version we archive be referenced in detail in the same way as the published copy of record?
- Is our archived version beautiful and easy to read?
I’m a bit used to science where often papers are submitted in a typesetting language like LaTeX or “camera ready” in PDF.
In other fields text is provided in a more raw format and typeset by the publisher.
(There are also now science publishers who provide access to their systems during the review process so bunches of text and image files from the author are combined into a marked up paper which becomes the published one.)
If a publisher does lovely formatting from raw text and then doesn’t allow us to harvest their version for Green Open Access, then we have a couple of issues:
How do we reference parts of the work?
If the page numbers on the journal version of record and our archived copy from the author are different then someone using the Open Access copy won’t be able to use it to reference the version of record.
Some external markup could be made available that maps the two versions so someone could choose a bit of the OA copy and get the equivalent page numbers in the journal version. Requires getting that info though and sounds messy to me.
How do we make our repository copy attractive and readable?
Desktop publishing means such things are not that difficult – but do take time and care and it does seem to be extra effort to have the same text done twice. The question “who’s ‘we’?” springs to mind.