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A while ago, Google Scholar introduced "public access mandates". For me, for example, it says on the starting page that one article is "missing" (not available), so I go on the details page, and I am very confused by what this all is supposed to mean:

enter image description here

So the article in question was published in an Elsevier journal (Medical image analysis) and it was funded by German Research Foundation, yes. Apparently, there is an issue with the article (it says on the starting page that something is missing, remember?) so when I click on "Review", it offers me two options to resolve the issue:

Either shall I upload a PDF, or make a correction, where the options for the latter are:

  • I am not the (responsible) author
  • Publication date is wrong
  • The article was not funded by German Research Foundation

Neither of these options applies in my case since all information is correct, so the only option I have left to resolve the "issue" is to upload a PDF. But Elsevier strictly forbids sharing published articles.

So my confusion boils down to these questions:

  1. Why is this article listed in the section "Articles with public access mandates"?
  2. What do they expect me to upload and why?

2 Answers 2

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What Google Scholar is tracking here is whether all articles that are required by funders to be open access actually are. So the "problem" you see here is that you (apparently) published an article as closed access material and acknowledged a funding agency, DFG, that requires articles to be made open access. Hence the three ways to fix this - either provide the article, correct the publishing date if it had been published before DFG mandated open access, or claim that somebody else is the corresponding author (presumably Google will then stop bothering you and query the corresponding author instead).

It is important to note that there is, per se, nothing wrong with your article - it's not like Google has troubles parsing the article or matching it to your profile. The warning is an advise to you that you may be in violation of your funder's policies. The question is how to best address this after the fact - if Elsevier does not support any open access model (e.g., no green or gold open access model) there may not be much you can do after having already published the article. In that case it may be best to let it be and be more aware of the relevant policies of your funders in the future.

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    Thanks for the detailed answer. In fact, Elsevier does support green open access, which, however, as far as I understand, only permits publication of the accepted manuscript (not the final paper) on my personal or the institutional website (not uploading to Google Scholar). I have already shared the accepted manuscript on my personal website. Is there anything I can do so Google Scholar recognizes that?
    – kostrykin
    Commented Sep 29, 2022 at 22:02
  • @theV0ID Probably GS does not index your personal website. One further good reason to use an institutional website or a preprint server such as arXiv instead. There are a few questions around this topic here on this site, the rules what GS includes in its index are unclear but personal websites are not always part of it.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 7:02
  • @theV0ID In (AFAIK most) European countries there is an academic repository for papers where you can upload your published paper to make it publicly accessible. For Germany, there seem to be a lot of different ones: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access_in_Germany#Repositories Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 16:18
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As xLeitix notes, DFG strongly encourages its grant recipients to provide public access to their research products. In the US, federal law mandates that NIH-funded researchers deposit accepted manuscripts into Pubmed Central. It seems German copyright law was amended to allow the same.

In your question, you note:

Elsevier strictly forbids sharing published articles.

This is not quite correct. Elsevier, has an embargo period. Luckily, the article in question has a "Version of Record" date of 29 July 2019. The journal has a self-archiving embargo period of 24 months. Therefore, the embargo is lifted.

As such, you can "self-archive" your article in any "non-commercial hosting platform". I personally am funded by the NIH, so I've always used PubMed Central. But it seems like you could use arXiv to archive your accepted manuscript. ArXiv is indexed by Google Scholar.

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