Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine

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

Open-Access Mega-Journals (OAMJs) are a relatively new and increasingly important publishing phenomenon. The journal Medicine is in the unique position of having transitioned in 2014 from being a ‘traditional’ highly-selective journal to the OAMJ model.

This study compares the bibliometric profile of the journal Medicine before and after its transition to the OAMJ model. Three standard modes of bibliometric analysis are employed, based on data from Web of Science: journal output volume, author characteristics, and citation analysis.

The journal’s article output is seen to have grown hugely since its conversion to an OAMJ, a rise driven in large part by authors from China. Articles published since 2015 have fewer citations, and are cited by lower impact journals than articles published before the OAMJ transition.

The adoption of the OAMJ model has completely changed the bibliometric profile of the journal, raising questions about the impact of OAMJ peer-review practices. In many respects, the post-2014 version of Medicine is best viewed as a new journal rather than a continuation of the original title.

URL : Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine


Evaluating and Promoting Open Data Practices in Open Access Journals

Authors : Eleni Castro, Mercè Crosas, Alex Garnett, Kasey Sheridan, Micah Altman

In the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in attention from the scholarly communications and research community to open access (OA) and open data practices.

These are potentially related, because journal publication policies and practices both signal disciplinary norms, and provide direct incentives for data sharing and citation. However, there is little research evaluating the data policies of OA journals.

In this study, we analyze the state of data policies in open access journals, by employing random sampling of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Open Journal Systems (OJS) journal directories, and applying a coding framework that integrates both previous studies and emerging taxonomies of data sharing and citation.

This study, for the first time, reveals both the low prevalence of data sharing policies and practices in OA journals, which differs from the previous studies of commercial journals’ in specific disciplines.

URL : Evaluating and Promoting Open Data Practices in Open Access Journals

Elsevier: Among the World’s Largest Open Access Publishers as of 2016

Author : Heather Morrison

Highlights of this broad-brush case study of Elsevier’s Open Access (OA) journals as of 2016: Elsevier offers 511 fully OA journals and 2,149 hybrids. Most fully OA journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). APCs of fully OA journals average $660 US ($1,731 excluding no-fee journals); hybrid OA averages $2,500.

A practice termed author nominal copyright is observed, where copyright is in the name of the author although the author contract is essentially a copyright transfer. The prospects for a full Elsevier flip to OA via APC payments for articles going forward are considered and found to be problematic.


The persistence of open access electronic journals

Author : Elizabeth A. Lightfoot


Open access (OA) electronic journals have been identified as potentially at risk of loss without more coordinated preservation efforts. The purpose of this paper is to test the current availability of OA electronic journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).


Using publicly available journal metadata downloaded from DOAJ, individual journal URLs were tested for validity and accessibility using a Microsoft Excel Visual Basic for Applications macro.


Initial results showed 69.51% of the URLs tested returned a successful HTTP status code. The remainder of the URLs returned codes that indicated redirection or errors.


Unlike past studies of link decay, this is not limited to cited references or a specific discipline. This study utilizes the full DOAJ metadata to analyze the persistence of OA electronic journals.


A study of institutional spending on open access publication fees in Germany

Authors : Najko Jahn, Marco Tullney

Publication fees as a revenue source for open access publishing hold a prominent place on the agendas of researchers, policy makers, and academic publishers.

This study contributes to the evolving empirical basis for funding these charges and examines how much German universities and research organisations spent on open access publication fees.

Using self-reported cost data from the Open APC initiative, the analysis focused on the amount that was being spent on publication fees, and compared these expenditure with data from related Austrian (FWF) and UK (Wellcome Trust, Jisc) initiatives, in terms of both size and the proportion of articles being published in fully and hybrid open access journals.

We also investigated how thoroughly self-reported articles were indexed in Crossref, a DOI minting agency for scholarly literature, and analysed how the institutional spending was distributed across publishers and journal titles.

According to self-reported data from 30 German universities and research organisations between 2005 and 2015, expenditures on open access publication fees increased over the years in Germany and amounted to € 9,627,537 for 7,417 open access journal articles.

The average payment was € 1,298, and the median was € 1,231. A total of 94% of the total article volume included in the study was supported in accordance with the price cap of € 2,000, a limit imposed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) as part of its funding activities for open access funding at German universities.

Expenditures varied considerably at the institutional level. There were also differences in how much the institutions spent per journal and publisher. These differences reflect, at least in part, the varying pricing schemes in place including discounted publication fees.

With an indexing coverage of 99%, Crossref thoroughly indexed the open access journals articles included in the study. A comparison with the related openly available cost data from Austria and the UK revealed that German universities and research organisations primarily funded articles in fully open access journals.

By contrast, articles in hybrid journal accounted for the largest share of spending according to the Austrian and UK data. Fees paid for hybrid journals were on average more expensive than those paid for fully open access journals.

URL : A study of institutional spending on open access publication fees in Germany


Peer review in megajournals compared with traditional scholarly journals: Does it make a difference?

A megajournal is an open-access journal that publishes any manuscript that presents scientifically trustworthy empirical results, without asking about the potential scientific contribution prior to publication. Megajournals have rapidly increased their output and are currently publishing around 50,000 articles per year.

We report on a small pilot study in which we looked at the citation distributions for articles in megajournals compared with journals with traditional peer review, which also evaluate articles for contribution and novelty.We found that elite journals with very low acceptance rates have far fewer articles with no or few citations, but that the long tail of articles with two citations or less was actually bigger in a sample of selective traditional journals in comparison with megajournals.

This indicates the need for more systematic studies, because the results raise many questions as to how efficiently the current peer review system in reality fulfils its filtering function.


Open Journal Systems and Dataverse Integration– Helping Journals to Upgrade Data Publication for Reusable Research

This article describes the novel open source tools for open data publication in open access journal workflows. This comprises a plugin for Open Journal Systems that supports a data submission, citation, review, and publication workflow; and an extension to the Dataverse system that provides a standard deposit API.

We describe the function and design of these tools, provide examples of their use, and summarize their initial reception. We conclude by discussing future plans and potential impact.