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Open Access green

The "green” route to open access means making an already published work available on a freely accessible document server (repository), after the work has been traditionally published, i.e. made available upon payment to a limited circle of readers.

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The "green route" to open access

The "green route" to open access enables authors to make scholarly publications freely accessible even when the articles have not been previously published as open access. The "green route" is often called self-archiving and is understood to be a secondary publication or online posting of the article. The institutional repository Refubium of the Freien Universität Berlin and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is available to researchers for this purpose. Here journal articles and other publications are not only archived, but also made publicly accessible and findable.

Often, green open access is only feasible after an embargo period set by the publisher or the journal. Most journals allow authors to share a version of their article on their personal website and/or an open access repository after the embargo deadline has passed. An article can also be submitted to the institutional repository Refubium before such a deadline - the article will then automatically be made publicly accessible at the correct time.
In addition to the publishers' agreement allowing authors to make their articles accessible via an open access repository, there is also the German legally enshrined right of secondary publication or “Zweitveröffentlichungsrecht”.
The Medical Library's Open Access Team is happy to support authors from the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin with self-archiving and secondary publication in Refubium.

What should be considered when self-archiving, the "green route" to open access?

It is necessary to consider which embargo periods the publisher imposes and which versions of the article may be posted online. Often, the final publisher's version is not allowed. Information on green open access options per publisher and journal (embargo periods, versions and helpful links) can be found in the SHERPA/RoMEO database online.

SHERPA/RoMEO uses a special version vocabulary:

  1. An "Author's Pre-print" is the submitted version of the article (often called "submitted manuscript").
  2. "Author's Post-print" means a version that is accepted by the journal and takes into account all peer-reviewed comments. This version can be created from the publisher's version, but must not contain any publisher logos or other layout elements of the publisher.
  3. The "Publisher's Version/PDF" is the published article in the style of the respective journal or in the publisher’s layout.

The new “Zweitveröffentlichungsgesetz“, or Secondary Publication Act

Since January 01 2015 you can also make use of the new right of secondary publication according to § 38(4) UrhG, which came into force on January 01 2014. According to this law, authors of scientific publications are allowed to republish their journal articles after one year under certain conditions, even if the publishing contract contains different terms. For this purpose, the article must be a scientific contribution, at least half of which has resulted from a publicly funded research activity. In addition, the article must have appeared in a collection that appears at least twice periodically (such as a journal that appears at least twice a year). 
If you are unsure whether these criteria can be applied to your publication, please contact the Open Access Team (link!) at the Charité Medical Library. We can also help you to research publishers’ open access policies or to submit your article to the institutional repository of the FU and Charité, Refubium.


The Open Access Team is available for advice and support on all things Open Access: