Scientific papers freely available on the internet make a bigger impact than many people realise, according to a new study....The findings will strengthen calls for more online scientific journals to switch to the open-access model and make research freely available. Journal subscriptions are too expensive for many scientists in developing countries, making open-access their sole means of keeping up to date with research in the rest of the world. The author of the study, published this week in the prestigious Public Library of Science online series Biology, concludes that "open-access is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings"....
[Gunther] Eysenbach found that open-access papers were twice as likely as other papers to be cited 4-10 months after publication. This increased to three times as likely 10-16 months after publication. More surprisingly, the study found that articles published as open-access from the start on had a higher impact than articles published as non-open-access, which researchers had 'self-archived' on other websites....
Meanwhile, South African research journals have been urged to dramatically increase their visibility - to policymakers, taxpayers who often fund the research, and readers across the developing world - by creating open-access internet editions as soon as possible. The Academy of Science of South Africa, led by University of Pretoria vice-principal Robin Crewe, made the call after an inquiry that found that in the past 14 years, one-third of South African journals have not had a single paper cited by their international counterparts....
The academy's executive officer Wieland Gevers, who led the investigation...says the government's system for subsidising journals must be reformed to improve their quality and visibility. Currently, the department of education pays universities R84 000 each time a government-accredited journal publishes a paper by one of their academics, regardless of the journal's international standing. Gevers says the department should divert $165 of the subsidy to the journals, to allow them to fund online and open-access editions....Adi Paterson of the department of science and technology, which commissioned the study, welcomes the report as a basis for strengthening "incentives to support high-quality research publications" and to "forge a low cost open-access approach to the publishing of publicly funded research". - SciDev.Net
Peter Suber at 5/19/2006 08:42:00 AM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.