Open Access News

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sorting out the variables within the OA impact advantage

Stevan Harnad, The Open Access Citation Advantage: Quality Advantage Or Quality Bias? Open Access Archivangelism, January 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

Summary:  Many studies have now reported the positive correlation between Open Access (OA) self-archiving and citation counts ("OA Advantage," OAA). But does this OAA occur because (QB) authors are more likely to self-selectively self-archive articles that are more likely to be cited (self-selection "Quality Bias": QB)? or because (QA) articles that are self-archived are more likely to be cited ("Quality Advantage": QA)? The probable answer is both. Three studies [by (i) Kurtz and co-workers in astrophysics, (ii) Moed in condensed matter physics, and (iii) Davis & Fromerth in mathematics] had reported the OAA to be due to QB [plus Early Advantage, EA, from self-archiving the preprint before publication, in (i) and (ii)] rather than QA. These three fields, however, (1) have less of a postprint access problem than most other fields and (i) and (ii) also happen to be among the minority of fields that (2) make heavy use of prepublication preprints. Chawki Hajjem has now analyzed preliminary evidence based on over 100,000 articles from multiple fields, comparing self-selected self-archiving with mandated self-archiving to estimate the contributions of QB and QA to the OAA. Both factors contribute, and the contribution of QA is greater.