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Thursday, August 07, 2008

How many published papers could have been self-archived?

Sigbjørn Hernes has calculated that at least 47% of the research articles published in Norwegian journals in 2005-2006 could have been (and could still be) deposited in OA repositories.  The percentage might be much higher:  for 27% of the articles, Hernes couldn't ascertain the publisher's self-archiving policy.

Hernes' paper is in Norwegian.  Unfortunately it's a PDF and I can't link to a machine translation.  My summary is based on Google's English translation of the front page of the wiki.  I don't know whether Hernes calculated how many of the papers which could have been deposited were actually deposited.  Perhaps a reader of Norwegian could drop me a line, or post a note to SOAF, with some of the other important details.

Update (8/8/08).  Charles Bailey has painstakingly harvested the text from the PDF, run it through Google Translate, and sent me the result.  (Thanks, Charles.) 

Hernes identified 19,070 articles published in Norwegian journals in 2005-2006.  While 9,110 or 47% were published in green journals which permitted postprint archiving, only between 143 and 408 have been self-archived to date (between 0.016% and 0.45% of those eligible). 

Update (9/17/08).  Here are some corrections and updates to my original account of this study.  I'm very grateful to Jan Erik Frantsvåg for his help.

  • The Hernes study didn't focus on Norwegian journals but on the journals, published anywhere, recognized by the Norwegian research-funding system for granting research funds to Norwegian colleges and universities.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell whether articles archived in NORA were published in this special set of journals.  NORA contains 446 articles published in 2005-06, of which 171 are tagged as peer-reviewed.  Because of inconsistent coding of metadata, the number of peer-reviewed articles could lie anywhere between 171 and 446, and the number of those published in the special set of journals could also lie between 171 and 446.  There were 9,110 articles published in those journals during the same period, eligible for self-archiving.  Hence, the percentage actually self-archived lies between 1.9% and 4.9%. 
  • These numbers reflect some new deposits made since Hernes published his report, in part from the lapse of time and in part from the addition of 15 new repositories to the NORA system. 
  • Of the articles in the Hernes study that were not self-archived as postprints, 18% were published in journals which allow only preprint archiving, 7% in journals which allow no self-archiving at all, and 27% in journals with unknown policies.  It's possible, even likely, that many journals in that 27% segment allow postprint archiving.