Developing indicators on Open Access by combining evidence from diverse data sources

Authors : Thed van Leeuwen, Ingeborg Meijer, Alfredo Yegros-Yegros, Rodrigo Costas

In the last couple of years, the role of Open Access (OA) publishing has become central in science management and research policy. In the UK and the Netherlands, national OA mandates require the scientific community to seriously consider publishing research outputs in OA forms.

At the same time, other elements of Open Science are becoming also part of the debate, thus including not only publishing research outputs but also other related aspects of the chain of scientific knowledge production such as open peer review and open data.

From a research management point of view, it is important to keep track of the progress made in the OA publishing debate. Until now, this has been quite problematic, given the fact that OA as a topic is hard to grasp by bibliometric methods, as most databases supporting bibliometric data lack exhaustive and accurate open access labelling of scientific publications.

In this study, we present a methodology that systematically creates OA labels for large sets of publications processed in the Web of Science database. The methodology is based on the combination of diverse data sources that provide evidence of publications being OA.


Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals

Authors : Alison Boba, Jill Emery

Utilizing the Project COUNTER Release 4 JR1-GOA report, two librarians explore these data in comparison to journal package subscriptions represented via the JR1 reports. This paper outlines the methodology and study undertaken at the Portland State University Library and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Library using these reports for the first time.

The initial outcomes of the study are provided in various Tables for 2014 and 2015. The intent of the study was to provide both institutions with a baseline from which to do further study. In addition, some ideas are given for how these reports can be used in vendor negotiations going forward.

URL : Gathering the Needles: Evaluating the Impact of Gold Open Access Content With Traditional Subscription Journals


Opening Academic Publishing – Development and application of systematic evaluation criteria

Authors : Anna Björk, Juho-Matti Paavola, Teemu Ropponen, Mikael Laakso, Leo Lahti

This report summarizes the development of a standardized scorecard for evaluating the openness of academic publishers. The assessment was completed in January 2018 as part of the Open Science and Research Initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

The project complements the previous reports published by the Open Science and Research Initiative and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, which have covered (i) the openness of universities and polytechnics, (ii) the overall situation of OA publishing costs in Finland, and (iii) research organization and research funding organizations, including selected European research funders.

The project mapped and evaluated the openness of selected major academic publishers: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Chemical Society (ACS), Elsevier, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins (LWW), Sage, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley-Blackwell. The dimensions of publisher openness were summarized in a scorecard of seven key factors, providing a new tool for systematic and standardized evaluation.

We used data from the publisher websites to compare the key factors of openness, and the publishers were given a chance to provide comments on the collected information. As complementary sources, we utilized data from commonly acknowledged, open databases: Directory of OA Journals (DOAJ), Gold OA Journals 2011-2016 (GOAJ2), Scopus (title list + Scimago), and Sherpa / Romeo.

The main results include the scorecard and the evaluation of openness of the selected major academic publishers. These are based on seven key factors: (i) Fraction of open access (OA) journals and their articles of the total publication output, (ii) costs of OA publishing (article processing charges, APC), (iii) use of Creative Commons (CC) licensing, (iv) self-archiving policies, (v) access to text and data mining (TDM), (vi) openness of citation data, and (vii) accessibility of information relating to OA practices.

To take a look beyond the publisher level into journal level practices we also sampled individual journals. We use the samples to discuss the distribution of journals according to APCs, their licensing and three impact metrics (CiteScore 2016, Scimago Journal & Country Ranks (SJR) 2016, and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016).

The evaluation of the selected publishers with the scorecard indicates, for example, that the fraction of OA journals and their articles of the total publication output runs low within this group. In our sample of journals, the most expensive OA journals also seem to bear the highest impact metrics.

A definite view on the matter, however, would require more extensive data and further research. We
conclude by discussing key aspects and complexities in quantitative evaluation and in the design of a standardized assessment of publisher openness, and note also further factors that could be included in future versions of the scorecard.

URL : Opening Academic Publishing – Development and application of systematic evaluation criteria

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Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

Author : Sumiko Asai

Although open access has steadily developed with the continuous increase in subscription journal price, the effect of open access articles on citations remains a controversial issue. The present study empirically examines the factors determining authors’ choice to provide open access and the effects of open access on downloads and citations in hybrid journals.

This study estimates author’s choice of open access using a probit model, and the results show that the cost of open access is an important factor in the decision. After a test for endogeneity of open access choice, the equation for downloads is estimated with the variables representing characteristics of articles and authors.

The results of estimating downloads by ordinary least squares show that open access increases the number of downloads in hybrid journals. On the other hand, from citation estimations using a negative binominal model, this study found that the effect of open access on the number of citations differs among hybrid journals.

It is a good practice for authors to consider a balance between article processing charges and the benefits that will be gained from open access when deciding whether to provide open access.

URL : Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

DOI : 10.11648/j.ijber.20170606.11

Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access

Author : Kevin L. Smith

The word ‘predatory’ has become an obstacle to a serious discussion of publishing practices. Its use has been both overinclusive, encompassing practices that, while undesirable, are not malicious, and underinclusive, missing many exploitative practices outside the open access sphere.

The article examines different business models for scholarly publishing and considers the potential for abuse with each model. After looking at the problems of both blacklists and so-called ‘whitelists’, the author suggests that the best path forward would be to create tools to capture the real experience of individual authors as they navigate the publishing process with different publishers.

URL : Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access


New models for open digital collections?

Authors: Paola Marchionni, Peter Findlay

This article discusses the potential for new community-based funding models to support digitization and open access (OA) publishing of digital collections. Digital collections of archival material such as texts, images and moving images are an important complement to journals and books in the ecosystem of scholarly resources that researchers, teachers and learners use.

However, institutions find them expensive to acquire from publishers or to digitize themselves. In the US, Reveal Digital (RD) has set up a ‘library crowdfunding’ programme based on a cost-recovery OA model.

The article describes how Jisc has collaborated with RD to introduce the model to UK institutions through their ‘Independent Voices’ collection of 20th-century alternative press materials and, in doing so, explores the potential and challenges for developing a similar approach in the UK.

URL : New models for open digital collections?



If funders and libraries subscribed to open access: The case of eLife, PLOS, and BioOne

Authors : John Willinsky​, Matthew Rusk

Following on recent initiatives in which funders and libraries directly fund open access publishing, this study works out the economics of systematically applying this approach to three biomedical and biology publishing entities by determining the publishing costs for the funders that sponsored the research, while assigning the costs for unsponsored articles to the libraries.

The study draws its data from the non-profit biomedical publishers eLife and PLOS, and the nonprofit journal aggregator BioOne, with this sample representing a mix of publishing revenue models, including funder sponsorship, article processing charges (APC), and subscription fees.

This funder-library open access subscription model is proposed as an alternative to both the closed-subscription model, which funders and libraries no longer favor, and the APC open access model, which has limited scalability across scholarly publishing domains.

Utilizing PubMed filtering and manual-sampling strategies, as well as publicly available publisher revenue data, the study demonstrates that in 2015, 86 percent of the articles in eLife and PLOS acknowledged funder support, as did 76 percent of the articles in the largely subscription journals of BioOne. Twelve percent of the articles identified the NIH as a funder, 8 percent identifies other U.S. government agencies.

Approximately half of the articles were funded by non-U.S. government agencies, including 1 percent by Wellcome Trust and 0.5 percent by Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For 17 percent of the articles, which lacked a funder, the study demonstrates how a collection of research libraries, similar to the one currently subscribing to BioOne, could cover publishing costs.

The goal of the study is to inform stakeholder considerations of open access models that can work across the disciplines by (a) providing a cost breakdown for direct funder and library support for open access publishing; (b) positing the use of publishing data-management organizations (such as Crossref and ORCID) to facilitate per article open access support; and (c) proposing ways in which such a model offers a more efficient, equitable, and scalable approach to open access than the prevailing APC model, which originated with biomedical publishing.

URL : If funders and libraries subscribed to open access: The case of eLife, PLOS, and BioOne