At last some facts instead of hype. I'm a believer in Open Access but my
own research has shown that hype and reality were seriously out of step.
This study can be summarised thus: There is no difference between standard
and OA sci/tech journals in terms of citation pattern, the only important
factor is the quality of the article, not how it is published. With a
little thought it is easy to see why this is the case. Those people who
cite articles (as distinct from those who merely read them), i.e.,
academic researchers, already have access to the standard journals in
their subject so open access makes little difference to them. So for hard
sci/tech (and probably socsci and hums) subjects we can forget the
arguments about more citations (that doesn't preclude the possibility of
greater readership though).
Since we now know there is no difference between OA and standard journals
in terms of citation and quality (if an article has quality it will be
equally cited in whichever form it is published) then the only variables
left are cost and acceptability. Again since the citation patterns are
similar the first test of acceptability seems to have been passed since OA
journals are being read and quality articles are being published in them.
So we are just left with cost - this has many variables, e.g., do we count
the cost of the technology needed to access OA journals, do we take into
account the money saved from not needing to archive hardcopy, will we
accept the movement of money from subscriptions to up front refereeing
fees, do we count the savings in subscription maintenance, etc? However
complicated the calculation if my interpretation is correct we can forget
arguing about which is the better form of publication and just ask which
is the cheapest :-) .
The Templeman Library,
University of Kent.
On Fri, 16 Apr 2004, Ross MacIntyre wrote:
> [Forwarding from SOAF List, Ross]
> > -----Original Message-----
> > NFAIS members may find this notable essay from Thomson-ISI to be of
> > interest. Entitled "The Impact of Open Access Journals", the full text
> > available at <http://www.isinet.com/oaj>. At this point in time, ISI
> > indexes material from nearly 200 Open Access titles across a variety
> > disciplines. This quantitative analysis is the first published study
> > ISI on this topic.
> > >From the press release, dated April 14, "Thomson ISI recently
> > a
> > study of the overall performance of OA journals as they are added to
> > mix of scholarly publications used by the research community. Using
> > citation metrics such as impact factor and cited half life, the study
> > focuses on determining whether OA journals perform differently from
> > journals in their respective fields. The study's initial findings
> > indicate
> > that there was no discernible difference in terms of citation impact
> > frequency with which the journal is cited."
> > The essay was authored by James Testa, Director, Editorial
> > Thomson-ISI, and Marie E. McVeigh, Product Development Manager,
> > Thomson-ISI. It responds to a number of questions surrounding the
> > performance of OA titles in specific disciplines, as documented in the
> > Journal Citation Report (JCR). As an example, two of the categories
> > touched
> > on for the purposes of comparing known differences in citation
> > due
> > to the pace of research and publication between fields were
> > &
> > Pharmacy" and "Mathematics".
> > A few of the selected findings:
> > -- When ranked by Impact factor in their respective categories, OA
> > journals
> > fall throughout the category, with more of a tendency to the lower
> > (see pg 3)
> > -- The study suggests that OA journals have a broadly similar citation
> > pattern to other journals but may have a slight tendency to earlier
> > citations (pg. 6)
> > -- The wide distribution of these OA journals has not yet been shown
> > have any appreciable effect on their appearance in lists of cited
> > references in other journals (pg 10).
> > The study, apparently part of an on-going analysis, provides credible
> > grounds for discussion about Open Access.
> > Jill O'Neill
> > Director, Planning & Communications
> > NFAIS
> > (v) 215-893-1561
> > ==========