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Monday, August 25, 2008

Looking at the OA citation advantage in hybrid OA journals

Philip M. Davis, Author-choice open access publishing in the biological and medical literature: a citation analysis, forthcoming in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology.  Self-archived August 18, 2008. 

Abstract:   In this article, we analyze the citations to articles published in 11 biological and medical journals from 2003 to 2007 that employ author-choice open access models. Controlling for known explanatory predictors of citations, only 2 of the 11 journals show positive and significant open access effects. Analyzing all journals together, we report a small but significant increase in article citations of 17%. In addition, there is strong evidence to suggest that the open access advantage is declining by about 7% per year, from 32% in 2004 to 11% in 2007.

Also see Davis' blog post about this article.

Update.  See Stevan Harnad's comments:

Summary: ...The outcome [of Davis' study], confirming previous studies (on both paid and unpaid OA), is a significant OA citation Advantage, but a small one (21%, 4% of it correlated with other article variables such as number of authors, references and pages). The author infers that the size of the OA advantage in this biomedical sample has been shrinking annually from 2004-2007, but the data suggest the opposite. In order to draw valid conclusions from these data, the following five further analyses are necessary:

  1. The current analysis is based only on author-choice (paid) OA. Free OA self-archiving needs to be taken into account too, for the same journals and years, rather than being counted as non-OA, as in the current analysis.
  2. The proportion of OA articles per journal per year needs to be reported and taken into account.
  3. Estimates of journal and article quality and citability in the form of the Journal Impact Factor and the relation between the size of the OA Advantage and journal as well as article “citation-bracket” need to be taken into account.
  4. The sample-size for the highest-impact, largest-sample journal analyzed, PNAS, is restricted and is excluded from some of the analyses. An analysis of the full PNAS dataset is needed, for the entire 2004-2007 period.
  5. The analysis of the interaction between OA and time, 2004-2007, is based on retrospective data from a June 2008 total cumulative citation count. The analysis needs to be redone taking into account the dates of both the cited articles and the citing articles, otherwise article-age effects and any other real-time effects from 2004-2008 are confounded.
The author proposes that an author self-selection bias for providing OA to higher-quality articles (the Quality Bias, QB) is the primary cause of the observed OA Advantage, but this study does not test or show anything at all about the causal role of QB....The author also suggests that paid OA is not worth the cost, per extra citation. This is probably true, but with OA self-archiving, both the OA and the extra citations are free....

Update (9/18/08). Davis has self-archived a revised version of this paper.

Update (12/15/08). The published version of this article is now online.