Friday, 20 February 2009

Open access and wider participation in science

James Evans and Jacob Reimer have reported their findings in the journal Science (20 February 2009Vol 323, Issue 5917) that in the natural sciences the influence of open access on how widely a journal is read and cited is greatest for multidisciplinary journals. Athough their results show that the influence of open access on global particiaption in science is lower than in previous studies, it does demonstrate that open access does expand the range of those that can experience and benefit from the science.

1 comment:

Stevan Harnad said...

Immediate Open Access Versus Embargoed Access

Evans & Reimer (2009) (E & R) show that a large portion of the increased citations generated by making articles freely accessible online ("Open Access," OA) come from Developing-World authors citing OA articles more. It is very likely that a within-US comparison based on the same data would show much the same effect: making articles OA should increase citations from authors at the Have-Not universities (with the smaller journal subscription budgets) more than from Harvard authors. Articles by Developing World (and US Have-Not) authors should also be cited more if they are made OA, but the main beneficiaries of OA will be the best articles, wherever they are published. This raises the question of how many citations – and how much corresponding research uptake, usage, progress and impact – are lost when articles are embargoed for 6-12 months by their publishers against being made OA by their authors. (It is important to note that E & R's results are not based on immediate OA but on free access after an embargo of up to a year or more.)

For full text of this commentary, see: Open Access Benefits for the Developed and Developing World: The Harvards and the Have-Nots

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum