Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New issue of Information Research, and an OA advantage anecdote

The March issue of Information Research is now online. At least these articles are related to OA (plus reviews and conference announcements): From the editorial:

... Over the past thirteen years we have moved from a very local journal, publishing working papers on the work of the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield, first to a fully peer-reviewed journal and on to a journal covered by all of the major indexing services, including the Web of Knowledge, to one whose 'impact factor' challenges the established journals and surpasses many of them.

There is no doubt in mind that this latter phenomenon is due in no small part to the fact of the journal being freely and openly available on the Web. Before about 1995, electronic journals took the form of rather crudely produced text files accessible by ftp or delivered by e-mail. In those circumstances, open access journals could not flourish. The Web changed all that and the production values of open access journals compete with, and in many cases exceed, those of the commercial publishers. The fact that many open access journals use HTML files rather than pdf, which is adopted by all commercial publishers, is, to my mind, a major element in their success. HTML files are easily manipulated in a browser, require no additional 'reader' than the browser, and are fully searchable. Consequently, the papers are found by the search engines and tend to be cited more readily and faster.

The rise of Information Research is quantitatively documented by the new SCImago Journal & Country Rank, to which I have referred in my Weblog. The four-year 'SCImago Influence Measure' or SIM, as I have designated it, is particularly interesting, since it allows for a longer period of time within which citations may be earned than does ISI's Journal Impact Factor. I explored this measure, not expecting to discover much that I didn't already know about the journal's influence, and was surprised to find the data that produced [this figure]:

As you see, the figure compares the data for Information Research and Journal of Documentation and the curves hardly demand any commentary. The simple fact is that Information Research has risen from nowhere to challenge the space occupied by one of the oldest journals in the field. ...