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The title of this post refers to the site  which is in effect a license scraper for journal articles. In the past 2-3 years in the UK, we have been able to make use of grants to our university to pay publishers to convert our publications into Open Access (also called GOLD). I thought I might check out a few of my recent publications to see what makes of them.

This was catalysed by an article which revealed that UK universities spent £9M in 2014 on the purchase of such openness. One of the “challenges” identified is the difficulty in converting such payment into an article that actually is open. Apparently, publishers make not a few mistakes in their quality controls in ensuring it is so, relying on irate authors informing them of such mistakes. This can be quite tedious to do, and so a tool that largely automates this checking is most useful. So here we go.

  1. doi: 10.1039/C3SC53416B[1] This is a good start. The output looks like thus. Green is GOLD so to speak. Well done the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  2. doi: 10.1021/ci500302p[2] from the ACS this time. Pink, but at least free to read. Quite what that means is less certain. There is an adage, “the right to read means the right to mine” presumably means this article is OK to mine, but then why does it not say so?10.1021:ci500302p
  3. doi: 10.1002/anie.201405238[3]. Pink again, but the colour now simply means no information about the license could be obtained from the publisher (Wiley). 10.1002:anie.201405238

I ran a few more and sadly the third of the above, “no information” was the most common response. And the legal response is invariably that if no information can be obtained, the answer is NO, it is not free to read. In other words, not providing a license is just as bad as saying it’s not free to read.

Article aggregators such as Symplectic do not yet perform the service above (which to be fair is still in beta), and so I cannot yet check how many GOLD articles there are to my name. I think it should be about 8, and I might add that the time I have to spend in arranging for this to happen is not negligible. Hell, I could probably have found a few more reactions mechanism in the time I have spent on achieving GOLD. This is one of those topics which would be interesting to revisit say in five years time to see how the world has changed. So I leave this little time capsule and will update it then!


  1. A. Armstrong, R.A. Boto, P. Dingwall, J. Contreras-García, M.J. Harvey, N.J. Mason, and H.S. Rzepa, "The Houk–List transition states for organocatalytic mechanisms revisited", Chem. Sci., vol. 5, pp. 2057-2071, 2014.
  2. M.J. Harvey, N.J. Mason, and H.S. Rzepa, "Digital Data Repositories in Chemistry and Their Integration with Journals and Electronic Notebooks", Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, vol. 54, pp. 2627-2635, 2014.
  3. A. Jana, I. Omlor, V. Huch, H.S. Rzepa, and D. Scheschkewitz, "N-Heterocyclic Carbene Coordinated Neutral and Cationic Heavier Cyclopropylidenes", Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol. 53, pp. 9953-9956, 2014.

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