Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, May 07, 2007

Amplifying a whole university's research impact

Karen Herland, Increasing the impact of the academy, Concordia Journal, May 3, 2007.  Excerpt:

Imagine if all of the most current research in your field was just a few keystrokes away. Similarly, imagine if your latest paper could be read months before its slated journal publication.

Depending on the culture of your discipline, the scenario may seem like a dream or a nightmare. On April 25, Stevan Harnad, Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Science at UQAM, presented the possibilities of what he sees as inevitable in the next couple of years.

Harnad came to sing the praises of open access. Under this system, faculty self-archive peer-reviewed papers in their university’s institutional repository so that others can freely access that research.

William Curran, head of Concordia’s Library, said in an email that “the whole philosophy and pedagogical role of the library ‘business’ is to provide access, i.e., open access to the compendium of the world’s knowledge.” He anticipates that Concordia will have an institutional repository within the year for, at minimum, completed theses and research papers, “which represent the intellectual output of the university.” ...

Using figures based on Concordia’s output [Harnad] said that we had averaged three citations for every one of the 3,323 articles our researchers had published in peer-reviewed journals between 2002–06. He extrapolated that with open access, “your citation impact would have been well over four…These are big steps, in a logarithmic scale, so three to four is a huge jump.”

It may not seem like much, but Southampton University in the U.K. (where Harnad taught) has a citation level above that of Columbia and Yale. Harnad said that it was precisely because Southampton was “the first (institution) to mandate, not request or invite, but mandate, that all post-print articles be deposited.” ...