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Recently I used the term “platinum open access” in an email I sent to several scholarly communication listserves.

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A platinum nugget.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alchemist-hp and used according to the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

I was immediately castigated by Stevan Harnad, one of today’s more bellicose open access advocates.

He blasted, “There is no “Platinum” Road to OA,” reflecting the now little-used “road” metaphor do describe the different types of scholarly open-access publishing.

To back up his claim, he threw in a link to an email he penned five years ago. The email simply stated that there is no such thing as platinum open access.

Platinum open access is a model of scholarly publishing that does not charge author fees. The costs associated with scholarly publication are covered by the benevolence of others, such as through volunteer work, donations, subsidies, grants, etc.

The term has been used for many years in numerous open-access publications, including books and blog entries, and on websites.

Platinum open-access is mentioned in Walt Crawford’s 2011 book Open Access: What You Need to Know Now. ¹

I think the distinction between gold (author-pays) and platinum open access is significant and the distinction between the two worth maintaining. I’ll continue to make that distinction by using the two terms.

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[1]. Crawford, Walt. (2011). Open Access: What You Need to Know Now. Chicago: American Library Association.