Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, April 30, 2007

More on the OA impact advantage

Yasar Tonta, Yurdagül Ünal, and Umut Al, The Research Impact of Open Access Journal Articles, in Proceedings ELPUB 2007, the 11th International Conference on Electronic Publishing, focusing on challenges for the digital spectrum, Vienna, 2007.  pp. 1-11.  Self-archived April 30, 2007.

Abstract:   The availability of scientific and intellectual works freely through scientists’ personal web sites, digital university archives or through the electronic print (eprint) archives of major scientific institutions has radically changed the process of scientific communication within the last decade. The “Open Access” (OA) initiative is having a tremendous impact upon the scientific communication process, which is largely based on publishing in scientific periodicals. This exploratory paper investigates the research impact of OA articles across the subject disciplines. The research impact of OA articles as measured by the number of citations varies from discipline to discipline. OA articles in Biology and Economics had the highest research impact. OA articles in hard, urban, and convergent fields such as Physics, Mathematics, and Chemical Engineering did not necessarily get cited most often.

Update.  See Stevan Harnad's comment:

The above article compared average citation counts in several different fields for a sample of articles in a sample of OA journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

The average citation counts for articles in the OA journals were found to vary across fields. It was concluded that OA research impact varies across fields.

No comparison was made with non-OA journals in the same fields. Hence it is impossible to say whether any of these differences have anything to do with OA. Fields no doubt differ in their average number of citations. Journals no doubt differ too, in subject matter, quality, and citation impact, hence must be equated: It is not clear whether the OA journals in each field are the top, medium or bottom journals, relative to the non-OA journals.

No conclusions at all can be drawn from this study. The authors are encouraged to do the necessary controls....