Use of the Paid Open Access Option in Hybrid Open Access Journals in Agriculture: A Mixed-Methods Study

Authors : Megan Kocher, Julie Kelly

We explore the use and usefulness of the hybrid open access publishing model in agricultural sciences using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.

To ascertain the level of usage of the paid open access option in hybrid open access journals in agriculture, we studied the agriculture-related journals published by six commercial publishers.

These publishers offer authors the option of paying a fee, often close to $3,000 per article, to make their article immediately freely available, usually with a Creative Commons license. We defined agriculture broadly but also assigned each journal to a subspecialty (e.g., animal science) in order to see if there were differences based on these subdivisions.

For each journal we gathered data for 2014-2015 and noted the total number of research articles and the number of those that were made freely available by authors paying the open access fee.

To give context to our results we also surveyed local faculty in agricultural sciences, asking their reasons for considering the paid open access options and the sources of the funds to pay for it. Survey respondents were asked about their academic position and rank to see if there were differences to be noted.

We also investigated the findability of the open access articles, noting if each individual publisher offered a way to easily locate all the freely available articles in a particular journal and if there are other avenues to easily locate these articles.


Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Stephen Pinfield, Valérie Spezi

In this paper we present the first comprehensive bibliometric analysis of eleven open-access mega-journals (OAMJs).

OAMJs are a relatively recent phenomenon, and have been characterised as having four key characteristics: large size; broad disciplinary scope; a Gold-OA business model; and a peer-review policy that seeks to determine only the scientific soundness of the research rather than evaluate the novelty or significance of the work. Our investigation focuses on four key modes of analysis: journal outputs (the number of articles published and changes in output over time); OAMJ author characteristics (nationalities and institutional affiliations); subject areas (the disciplinary scope of OAMJs, and variations in sub-disciplinary output); and citation profiles (the citation distributions of each OAMJ, and the impact of citing journals).

We found that while the total output of the eleven mega-journals grew by 14.9% between 2014 and 2015, this growth is largely attributable to the increased output of Scientific Reports and Medicine.

We also found substantial variation in the geographical distribution of authors. Several journals have a relatively high proportion of Chinese authors, and we suggest this may be linked to these journals’ high Journal Impact Factors (JIFs).

The mega-journals were also found to vary in subject scope, with several journals publishing disproportionately high numbers of articles in certain sub-disciplines.

Our citation analsysis offers support for Björk & Catani’s suggestion that OAMJs’s citation distributions can be similar to those of traditional journals, while noting considerable variation in citation rates across the eleven titles.

We conclude that while the OAMJ term is useful as a means of grouping journals which share a set of key characteristics, there is no such thing as a “typical” mega-journal, and we suggest several areas for additional research that might help us better understand the current and future role of OAMJs in scholarly communication.

URL : Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile


Research Articles about Open Access Indexed by Scopus: A Content Analysis

Authors : Rosângela Schwarz Rodrigues, Vitor Taga, Mariana Faustino dos Passos

This study analyzes research articles about open access (OA) indexed by the Scopus database, published from 2001 to 2015, in order to: (a) propose a categorization scheme about OA; (b) categorize the scientific production about OA; and (c) identify research trends on OA through disciplines at international level over time.

The authors used descriptive statistical methods and deductive content analysis using an unconstrained matrix in 347 selected research articles. The most explored themes were found to be “overview, current state, and growth of OA” counting for 98 articles (28.2%), and “awareness, perceptions, and attitudes toward OA” for 75 articles (21.6%).

As a conclusion, this study reveals a continuous and growing research interest by the OA community in studies focused on case studies regarding the development or evolution of OA in relation to certain groups, institutions, regions, periods, and how different actors perceive and address the OA movement.

URL : Research Articles about Open Access Indexed by Scopus: A Content Analysis

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How open science helps researchers succeed

Authors : Erin C McKiernan,  Philip E Bourne, C Titus Brown, Stuart Buck, Amye Kenall, Jennifer Lin, Damon McDougall, Brian A Nosek, Karthik Ram, Courtney K Soderberg, Jeffrey R Spies, Kaitlin Thaney, Andrew Updegrove, Kara H Woo, Tal Yarkoni

Open access, open data, open source and other open scholarship practices are growing in popularity and necessity. However, widespread adoption of these practices has not yet been achieved.One reason is that researchers are uncertain about how sharing their work will affect their careers.

We review literature demonstrating that open research is associated with increases in citations, media attention, potential collaborators, job opportunities and funding opportunities. These findings are evidence that open research practices bring significant benefits to researchers relative to more traditional closed practices.

URL : How open science helps researchers succeed


Continuing Professional Education in Open Access : a French-German Survey

Authors : Achim Oßwald, Joachim Schöpfel, Bernard Jacquemin

While open access (OA) has become a significant part of scientific communication and academic publishing, qualification issues have been out of focus in the OA community until recent years.

Based on findings about the qualification for OA within university-based programs in France and Germany the authors surveyed continuing professional education activities regarding OA in both countries in the years 2012-2015.

The results indicate that there are different types of events qualifying for OA and reveal a lack of coherent concepts for different target groups. Until now traditional presentation formats have been dominant.

Formats for distance learning, like MOOCs or webinars, might serve different needs and interests.


Positioning extension Massive Open Online Courses (xMOOCs) within the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing setting

Author : Bernard Nkuyubwatsi

Recent reports on xMOOCs indicated that underprivileged learners in need for higher education have minimally been reached by these courses. While the open access agenda is needed to reach such learners, most MOOCs were developed from societies that shifted toward the lifelong learning agenda.

In this paper, xMOOCs are positioned in both the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing country context. Findings from ten xMOOCs are presented and discussed. The findings suggested that two of the ten xMOOCs may contribute directly to the open access agenda and two xMOOCs may contribute indirectly to the same agenda.

Nine xMOOCs were found to have the potential to contribute to the lifelong learning agenda. These findings may inform policies and practices that underpin opening up higher education and open education in general.

URL : Positioning extension Massive Open Online Courses (xMOOCs) within the open access and the lifelong learning agendas in a developing setting

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The role of « open » in strategic library planning

Academic libraries are undergoing evolutionary change as emerging technologies and new philosophies about how information is created, distributed, and shared have disrupted traditional operations and services.

Additionally, the population that the academic library serves is increasingly distributed due to distance learning opportunities and new models of teaching and learning.  

This article, the first in this special issue, suggests that in today’s increasingly networked and distributed information environment, the strategic integration of open curation and collection development practices can serve as a useful means for organizing and providing structure to the diverse mass of available digital information, so that individual users of the library have access to coherent contexts for meaningful engagement with that information.

Building on insights from extant research and practice, this article proposes that colleges and universities recognize a more inclusive open access environment, including the integration of resources outside of those owned or created by the institution, and a shift toward policies that consider open access research and open educational resources as part of the library’s formal curatorial workflow and collection building.

At the conclusion on this article, authors Lisa Petrides and Cynthia Jimes offer a commentary on the six remaining articles that comprise this special issue on Models of Open Education in Higher Education, discussing the significant role that “open” policy and practice play in shaping teaching, learning, and scholarship in the global context of higher education.

URL : The role of « open » in strategic library planning