Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Measuring and publicizing OA visibility

Stevan Harnad, Making Visibility Visible: OA Metrics of Productivity and Prestige, Open Access Archivangelism, July 21, 2007.

Summary:  There is no problem at all with the visibility -- to their would-be users webwide -- of the 15% of articles that are already being self-archived in IRs. But there definitely is a problem with the visibility of that visibility and usage -- to the authors of those articles -- and especially to the authors of the other 85% of articles, the ones that have not yet been self-archived (as well as to their institutions and funders, who have not yet mandated that they be self-archived, to make them Open Access [OA]).   

Hence OA metrics -- the visible, quantitative indicators of the enhanced visibility and usage vouchsafed by OA -- have to be made directly visible to all, immediately and continuously (rather than just being published in the occasional study); and not only absolute metrics but comparative ones. That will make the greater visibility of the self-archived contents visible, thereby providing an immediate, continuous and palpable incentive to self-archive, and to mandate self-archiving.    

These are the kinds of visibility metrics that Arthur Sale at U. Tasmania, Les Carr at Southampton, Leo Waaijers at SURF/DARE and Tim Brody's citebase have been working on providing. The biggest showcase and testbed for all these new metrics of productivity and prestige, and of OA's visible effects on them, will be the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise. Then universities and research funders will have a palpable sense of how much visibility, usage, impact and income they are losing (absolutely, and to their competitors), the longer they delay mandating OA self-archiving.