Evidence of Open Access of scientific publications in Google Scholar: a large-scale analysis

Authors : Alberto Martín-Martín, Rodrigo Costas, Thed van Leeuwen, Emilio López-Cózar

This article uses Google Scholar (GS) as a source of data to analyse Open Access (OA) levels across all countries and fields of research. All articles and reviews with a DOI and published in 2009 or 2014 and covered by the three main citation indexes in the Web of Science (2,269,022 documents) were selected for study.

The links to freely available versions of these documents displayed in GS were collected. To differentiate between more reliable (sustainable and legal) forms of access and less reliable ones, the data extracted from GS was combined with information available in DOAJ, CrossRef, OpenDOAR, and ROAR.

This allowed us to distinguish the percentage of documents in our sample that are made OA by the publisher (23.1%, including Gold, Hybrid, Delayed, and Bronze OA) from those available as Green OA (17.6%), and those available from other sources (40.6%, mainly due to ResearchGate).

The data shows an overall free availability of 54.6%, with important differences at the country and subject category levels. The data extracted from GS yielded very similar results to those found by other studies that analysed similar samples of documents, but employed different methods to find evidence of OA, thus suggesting a relative consistency among methods.

URL : Evidence of Open Access of scientific publications in Google Scholar: a large-scale analysis

Alternative location : https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/k54uv/

Defining Success in Open Science

Authors : Sarah E. Ali-Khan, Antoine Jean, Emily MacDonald, E. Richard Gold

Mounting evidence indicates that worldwide, innovation systems are increasing unsustainable. Equally, concerns about inequities in the science and innovation process, and in access to its benefits, continue. Against a backdrop of growing health, economic and scientific challenges global stakeholders are urgently seeking to spur innovation and maximize the just distribution of benefits for all.

Open Science collaboration (OS) – comprising a variety of approaches to increase open, public, and rapid mobilization of scientific knowledge – is seen to be one of the most promising ways forward. Yet, many decision-makers hesitate to construct policy to support the adoption and implementation of OS without access to substantive, clear and reliable evidence.

In October 2017, international thought-leaders gathered at an Open Science Leadership Forum in the Washington DC offices of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to share their views on what successful Open Science looks like.

Delegates from developed and developing nations, national governments, science agencies and funding bodies, philanthropy, researchers, patient organizations and the biotechnology, pharma and artificial intelligence (AI) industries discussed the outcomes that would rally them to invest in OS, as well as wider issues of policy and implementation.

This first of two reports, summarizes delegates’ views on what they believe OS will deliver in terms of research, innovation and social impact in the life sciences. Through open and collaborative process over the next months, we will translate these success outcomes into a toolkit of quantitative and qualitative indicators to assess when, where and how open science collaborations best advance research, innovation and social benefit.

Ultimately, this work aims to develop and openly share tools to allow stakeholders to evaluate and re-invent their innovation ecosystems, to maximize value for the global public and patients, and address long-standing questions about the mechanics of innovation.

URL : Defining Success in Open Science

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/mniopenres.12780.2

Science Is Shaped by Wikipedia: Evidence From a Randomized Control Trial

Authors : Neil Thompson, Douglas Hanley

“I sometimes think that general and popular treatises are almost as important for the progress of science as original work.” – Charles Darwin, 1865.

As the largest encyclopedia in the world, it is not surprising that Wikipedia reflects the state of scientific knowledge. However, Wikipedia is also one of the most accessed websites in the world, including by scientists, which suggests that it also has the potential to shape science. This paper shows that it does.

Incorporating ideas into Wikipedia leads to those ideas being used more in the scientific literature. We provide correlational evidence of this across thousands of Wikipedia articles and causal evidence of it through a randomized control trial where we add new scientific content to Wikipedia.

We find that the causal impact is strong, with Wikipedia influencing roughly one in every ∼830 words in related scientific journal articles. We also find causal evidence that the scientific articles referenced in Wikipedia receive more citations, suggesting that Wikipedia complements the traditional journal system by pointing researchers to key underlying scientific articles.

Our findings speak not only to the influence of Wikipedia, but more broadly to the influence of repositories of scientific knowledge and the role that they play in the creation of scientific knowledge.

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3039505

Text Data Mining from the Author’s Perspective: Whose Text, Whose Mining, and to Whose Benefit?

Authors : Christine L. Borgman

Given the many technical, social, and policy shifts in access to scholarly content since the early days of text data mining, it is time to expand the conversation about text data mining from concerns of the researcher wishing to mine data to include concerns of researcher-authors about how their data are mined, by whom, for what purposes, and to whose benefits.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.04552

What’s in a Name? Exploring identity in the field of library journal publishing

Authors : Jacqueline Whyte Appleby, Jeanette Hatherill, Andrea Kosavic, Karen Meijer-Kline


This paper explores the variability in self-identifying practices of academic libraries engaged in journal publishing and hosting activities. We were interested in how libraries characterized their efforts in this area and looked at whether there is an unspoken threshold for differentiation with respect to publishing-support naming conventions.


Using the Library Publishing Directory, in-depth interviews, and a more widely circulated follow-up survey, the research team examined service offerings, divisions of responsibility, funding, terminology, and semantic associations within publishing, both as an active practice and as an advertised service.


We aimed to tease out whether there was any sort of tipping point, or inferred rules, around when an institution chose to call the activity either publishing or hosting. We found no particular service, set of services, funding structure, or division of labor that obviously influenced the use of a particular term.

Rather than noting a divide between publishing and hosting, participants spoke of both a spectrum and a tiering of work and support, though all emphasized that these models did not describe the quality of the work produced.

This paper also discusses how use of the term library publishing creates additional ambiguity in naming practices, and considers some implications for library staff newly immersed in scholarly publishing work.

URL : What’s in a Name? Exploring identity in the field of library journal publishing

DOI : http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2209

Students’ satisfaction and perceived impact on knowledge, attitudes and skills after a 2-day course in scientific writing: a prospective longitudinal study in Spain

Authors : Esteve Fernández, Ana M García, Elisabet Serés, Fèlix Bosch


This study aimed to determine students’ satisfaction with a 2-day course on scientific writing in health sciences and to assess their perceptions of the long-term impact on their knowledge, attitudes and skills.


27 iterations of a 2-day course on writing and publishing scientific articles in health sciences.


741 students attending the 27 courses.


Prospective longitudinal study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Immediately after each course, students completed a first questionnaire, rating their satisfaction with different aspects of the classroom sessions on a Likert scale (0–5). Approximately 2 years after the course, students completed a follow-up questionnaire, using a Likert scale (0–4) to rate their knowledge, skills and attitudes in relation to scientific writing before and after attending the course.


741 students (70% women) participated in the 27 iterations of the course; 568 (76.8%) completed the first questionnaire and 182 (24.6%) completed the follow-up questionnaire. The first questionnaire reflected high overall satisfaction (mean score, 4.6).

In the second questionnaire, students reported that the course had improved their knowledge (mean improvement: 1.6; 95% CI 1.6 to 1.7), attitudes (mean improvement: 1.3; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) and skills (mean improvement: 1.4; 95% CI 1.3 to 1.4) related to writing and publishing scientific papers. Most respondents (n=145, 79.7%) had participated in drafting a scientific paper after the course; in this subgroup, all the specific writing skills assessed in the second questionnaire significantly improved.


Students were satisfied with the format and the contents of the course, and those who responded to the follow-up survey considered that the course had improved their knowledge, attitudes and skills in relation to scientific writing and publishing. Courses are particularly important in countries without strong traditions in scientific publication.

URL : Students’ satisfaction and perceived impact on knowledge, attitudes and skills after a 2-day course in scientific writing: a prospective longitudinal study in Spain

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018657

Thoughts on Publishing the Research Article over the Centuries

Author : David Banks

The first academic periodical was the Journal des Sçavans, which first appeared in January 1665. It was followed two months later by the Philosophical Transactions. The Journal des Sçavans was sponsored by the state and was made up mainly of book reviews and covered all the known disciplines of the time.

The Philosophical Transactions was a private venture based on Oldenburg’s correspondence and was restricted to science and technology. Scientific writers were motivated by personal reputation, the desire to improve the human condition, and, sometimes, priority.

The “publish or perish” syndrome is a recent development. Among the factors that have influenced it are the increasing professionalization of science, the development of the peer-review system, and, towards the end of the twentieth century, a desire for rapid publication.

The fact that English has (recently) become the lingua franca of scientific publishing creates additional difficulties for non-Anglophone scientists, which their Anglophone colleagues do not have to face. Scientific language, similar to all languages, evolves constantly.

One area that seems to be changing at the moment is that of passive use, which is the subject of ongoing research. Cultural differences may also have a role to play. For example, French scientists may have to overcome a basically Cartesian education.

URL : Thoughts on Publishing the Research Article over the Centuries

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/1/10