This morning David Prosser, executive director of Research Libraries UK, tweeted, “So we have @unpaywall, @oaDOI_org, PubMed icons – is the green #OA infrastructure reaching maturity?” (link).
We love this observation, and not just because two of the three projects he mentioned are from us at Impactstory 😀. We love it because we agree: Green OA infrastructure is at a tipping point where two decades of investment, a slew of new tools, and a flurry of new government mandates is about to make Green OA the scholarly publishing game-changer.
A lot of folks have suggested that Sci-Hub is scholarly publishing’s “Napster moment,” where the internet finally disrupts a very resilient, profitable niche market. That’s probably true. But like music industry shut down Napster, Elsevier will likely be able shut down Sci-Hub. They’ve got both the money and the legal (though not moral) high ground and that’s a tough combo to beat.
But the future is what comes after Napster. It’s in the iTunes and the Spotifys of scholarly communication. We’ve built something to help to create this future. It’s Unpaywall, a browser extension that instantly finds free, legal Green OA copies of paywalled research papers as you browse–like a master key to the research literature. If you haven’t tried it yet, install Unpaywall for free and give it a try.
But Unpaywall is far from the only indication that we’re reaching a Green OA inflection point. Today is a great day to appreciate this, as there’s amazing Green OA news everywhere you look:
- Unpaywall reached the 5000 Active Users milestone. We’re now delivering tens of thousands of OA articles to users in over 100 countries, and growing fast.
- PubMed announced Institutional Repository LinkOut, which links every PubMed article to a free Green copy in institutional repositories where available. This is huge, since PubMed is one of the world’s most important portals to the research literature.
- The Open Access Button announced a new integration with interlibrary loan that will make it even more useful for researchers looking for open content. Along with the interlibrary loan request, they send instructions to authors to help them self-archive closed publications.
Over the next few years, we’re going to see an explosion in the amount of research available openly, as government mandates in the US, UK, Europe, and beyond take force. As that happens, the raw material is there to build completely new ways of searching, sharing, and accessing the research literature.
We think Unpaywall is a really powerful example: When there’s a big Get It Free button next to the Pay Money button on publisher pages, it starts to look like the game is changing. And it is changing. Unpaywall is just the beginning of the amazing open-access future we’re going to see. We can’t wait!