Gold and green are the two strategies outlined eight years ago when the OA movement was born, and are viewed as being essential components of any successful transition to OA.
By contrast, Finch concluded that the main vehicle should now be gold OA, either via pure open access journals or via hybrid journals, and that this should be funded by article processing charges (APCs).
At the same time, Finch argued, it was time to downgrade green OA, and reduce the role of institutional repositories to merely, "providing access to research data and to grey literature" and assisting in digital preservation.
Set alongside the Finch proposals, OA advocates quickly concluded that RCUK’s policy was a godsend.
One of the first to applaud the new policy was long-standing OA advocate, and self-styled archivangelist, Stevan Harnad. The minute the report was published a relieved Harnad began flooding mailing lists with messages congratulating RCUK on coming up with a policy that not only defied Finch, but was stronger than its current OA policy.
But as Harnad set about talking up the policy, and seeking to win over sceptics and doubters, he himself began to have doubts. And eventually he was driven to the conclusion that he had no option but to withdraw his support for the RCUK policy — which he now characterises as “autistic”, and a “foolish, wasteful and counterproductive step backwards”.
How has what at first sight seemed so desirable rapidly become something terrible? Curious to find out, I contacted Harnad. Below I publish the email interview that emerged from our conversation.