Green Open Access (also: the ‘Green Road to Open Access’ or ‘author self-archiving’)


Green Open Access refers to the practice of an author uploading a scientific or scholarly work to an institutional or discipline-specific OA repository after it has been published in a subscription-based journal or by a commercial publishing house, thus making such works available to others free of charge.

  • Institutional repositories: Archives that preserve and disseminate the intellectual and research output of an academic institution in all subject areas. The institutional repository at Saarland University is known as SciDok.

  • Discipline-specific repositories / Disciplinary repositories: Archives that preserve and disseminate the intellectual and research output in a particular subject area regardless of the author’s institutional affiliation. The world's largest open access archive for physics, computer science and mathematics is arXiv.

How does Green Open Access work and is it allowed?

Many academic publishers now permit manuscripts that they have accepted for publication to be made publicly available. You should definitely clarify the relevant legal aspects before self-archiving your work; ideally, this should be done before the manuscript is first published.

  • The website provides information about the different OA agreements between publishers and authors.

  • An overview of the OA self-archiving policies of academic publishers can be found in the Sherpa/Romeo database.

Alternatively, authors can negotiate an ‘author addendum’ to the publication agreement that covers self-archiving of the document in an OA repository.

  • The author addendum prepared by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is a widely used template document that can be downloaded at no charge.

  • Information on how to protect your rights as an author are available in the brochure ‘Author Rights

  • The Leibniz Association offers a German-language document with a draft version of an addendum to the publishing agreement between the author and the journal publisher.