Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, July 23, 2007

Measuring the OA Quotient of a research topic

Matt Cockerill, How open is your research area?  BMC blog, July 22, 2007.  Excerpt:

Using PubMed’s "Limits" tab, it is easy to filter searches by date of publication, and also by whether an article has a link to an online full text, and whether that online full text is freely available….

One handy side effect of this is that it is possible to search PubMed for articles in the last 60 days, and to calculate an Open Access Quotient to quantify just how open a particular research field is – i.e. what fraction of the research in that area is available with open access immediately following publication.

[Open Access Quotient = (PubMed results with open access fulltext links for last 60 days) / (PubMed results with fulltext links for last 60 days)]

The OAQ for PubMed as a whole currently stands at 6.8%, but this overall figure conceals major variation between fields.

[Malaria 19.8%, microarray 16.9%, genomic 12.9%, influenza 12.3%, AIDS 11.3%, cancer 7.2%, cardiovascular 5.0%, clinical trial 4.0%, PutMed average 6.8% …]

Is there a research area with a higher Open Access Quotient than malaria? Why not help us find out?

We'll send an "I'm Open" BioMed Central T-shirt to whoever can identify the biomedical field with the highest Open Access Quotient (and we'd also be interested to know what fields seem to have the lowest).

To qualify, a PubMed Search should be based on conceptual keywords (not author or journal names) and should return at least 100 articles which have online fulltexts published in the last 60 days.  Send your findings to …

Comment.  For topics covered by PubMed, the OAQ is a great idea.  I’ve been hoping for such a measurement for all topics since 2002, but it’s impractical (so far) for fields where there is no PubMed or equivalent.  By all means, however, let’s start with PubMed and measure what is measurable