Have you noticed something different on your Google Scholar profile lately? This new, unexpected addition is called Public Access. 

According to Google, this new feature helps researchers track and manage public access mandates for their articles.  

How does Google Scholar’s Public Access work? 

It’s a three-step process: 

  1. Google uses natural language software to identify funder acknowledgements in papers 
  1. It cross-references this information with its database of funder mandates 
  1. Google searches for a free version of the paper on publishers’ websites and in various open repositories. 

Google does not check to see whether the article has any kind of open license or badging. It only checks to see if there is a freely readable copy of the article available. 

Is it accurate? 

Just like other aspects of Google Scholar profiles, the data is imperfect.  It may say papers are not freely available, when in fact they are. It may also wrongly attribute the funding source. 

You can make corrections to your Google Scholar profile by following the advice on this webpage. 

Should researchers make their papers publicly available by uploading them to Google Drive? 

Google invites researchers to make their research publicly available by uploading a PDF to Google Drive. This option should only be used as a last resort. This is because Google Drive: 

  • Lacks a clear commitment to long-term preservation and access 
  • Does not make your research easily discoverable outside the Google ecosystem, so your work may never reach your audience. 

How can researchers comply with open access mandates and ensure their audience can access their work? 

Depositing your research papers in Griffith Research Online (GRO) is the best and most secure way to ensure you comply with funders’ open access mandates. GRO also ensures your research has visibility, reaching the largest audience possible, and has impact. 

Deposit the full text of your accepted manuscripts to GRO via Symplectic Elements 

Want to learn more? 

Discover more about Griffith’s commitment to open research.