The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage: It Exists (Probably), Its Modest (Usually), and the Rich Get Richer (of Course)

Author : Jim Ottaviani

Many studies show that open access (OA) articles—articles from scholarly journals made freely available to readers without requiring subscription fees—are downloaded, and presumably read, more often than closed access/subscription-only articles.

Assertions that OA articles are also cited more often generate more controversy. Confounding factors (authors may self-select only the best articles to make OA; absence of an appropriate control group of non-OA articles with which to compare citation figures; conflation of pre-publication vs. published/publisher versions of articles, etc.) make demonstrating a real citation difference difficult.

This study addresses those factors and shows that an open access citation advantage as high as 19% exists, even when articles are embargoed during some or all of their prime citation years. Not surprisingly, better (defined as above median) articles gain more when made OA.

URL : The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage: It Exists (Probably), Its Modest (Usually), and the Rich Get Richer (of Course)


Measuring Altruistic Impact: A Model for Understanding the Social Justice of Open Access

Authors : Margaret Heller, Franny Gaede


Traditional assessment of ways in which open access initiatives and institutional repositories have provided a return on investment normally use pragmatic measures such as download counts and citation benefits.

This pragmatic approach misses out on the powerful altruistic impact of improving access to international and/or marginalized communities. Using a frame of social justice, this article considers the importance of developing altruistic measures of repositories, particularly for institutions with missions specifically related to social justice and related themes.


Using web analytics data for search keywords from eight institutions and geographic usage data from nine institutions, the authors were able to determine how well social justice related content is accessed by search engines and how much overall content is accessed internationally, particularly by lower-resourced countries.

A social justice term list was developed to permit corpus overlap analysis with each institution’s search keywords, while the World Bank country income lists were used to determine international access by low and low-middle income countries.


Universities with mission statements explicitly mentioning social justice or Catholic social teaching had greater overlap with the social justice corpus. Low and low-middle income countries as defined by the World Bank were among the most engaged users.

All institutions had at least one social justice search term in their top ten; Marquette University had five. Collection development in social science and environmental sustainability at Loyola University Chicago successfully increased this term overlap year-over-year and increased user engagement as measured by session length.


The results of this exploratory study indicate that it is possible to use repository data to evaluate the success of an institution’s open access and social justice initiatives. The year-over-year improvement of Loyola’s numbers suggest in addition that it is possible to increase social justice impact through collection development.

Performing an analysis of social justice impact can be used as an overall strategy for repository success and outreach on campus, particularly for institutions where social justice is an important part of the campus identity. For repositories in need of further resources, the ability to quantify impact for university administrators and decision-makers may be of use.


For institutions with a social justice mission, improving social justice content may improve repository ranking in social justice related search results. Collection development strategies should focus on departments and/or individuals who are working in social justice related areas, which defined broadly could encompass much of an institution.

For institutions that emphasize social justice, it may be easier to approach faculty who might not otherwise have an interest in open access issues.

URL : Measuring Altruistic Impact: A Model for Understanding the Social Justice of Open Access


End of Publication? Open access and a new scholarly communication technology

Authors : Sergey Parinov, Victoria Antonova

At this time, developers of research information systems are experimenting with new tools for research outputs usage that can expand the open access to research. These tools allow researchers to record research as annotations, nanopublications or other micro research outputs and link them by scientific relationships.

If these micro outputs and relationships are shared by their creators publicly, these actions can initiate direct scholarly communication between the creators and the authors of the used research outputs. Such direct communication takes place while researchers are manipulating and organising their research results, e.g. as manuscripts.

Thus, researchers come to communication before the manuscripts become traditional publications. In this paper, we discuss how this pre-publication communication can affect existing research practice.

It can have important consequences for the research community like the end of publication as a communication instrument, the higher level of transparency in research, changes for the Open Access movement, academic publishers, peer-reviewing and research assessment systems.

We analyse a background that exists in the economics discipline for experiments with the pre-publication communication. We propose a set of experiments with already existed and new tools, which can help with exploring the end of publication possible impacts on the research community.


Business process costs of implementing “gold” and “green” open access in institutional and national contexts

Authors : Robert Johnson, Stephen Pinfield, Mattia Fosci

As open access (OA) publication of research outputs becomes increasingly common and is mandated by institutions and research funders, it is important to understand different aspects of the costs involved.

This paper provides an early review of administrative costs incurred by universities in making research outputs OA, either via publication in journals (“Gold” OA), involving payment of article-processing charges (APCs), or via deposit in repositories (“Green” OA).

Using data from 29 UK institutions, it finds that the administrative time, as well as the cost incurred by universities, to make an article OA using the Gold route is over 2.5 times higher than Green. Costs are then modeled at a national level using recent UK policy initiatives from Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Councils’ Research Excellence Framework as case studies.

The study also demonstrates that the costs of complying with research funders’ OA policies are considerably higher than where an OA publication is left entirely to authors’ discretion.

Key target areas for future efficiencies in the business processes are identified and potential cost savings calculated. The analysis is designed to inform ongoing policy development at the institutional and national levels.

URL : Business process costs of implementing “gold” and “green” open access in institutional and national contexts

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Pirates in the Library – An Inquiry into the Guerilla Open Access Movement

Author : Balazs Bodo

2016 is the year when piracy finally became an unavoidable topic in the domain of scholarly communications.

The public exposure of Sci-Hub, a copyright infringing site that provides free access to paywalled journal databases, electrified the decade old debates about the role of scholars, (commercial) publishers, libraries, and copyright in creating an environment, where results of scholarly inquiry are equally accessible for all.

This article gives insight into the Guerilla Open Access (GOA) movement, which is responsible for the creation and maintenance of massive, copyright infringing, freely accessible online shadow libraries of scholarly works: journal articles, monographs, textbooks.

It reconstructs the developments in the western and global academia and scholarly publishing which led to the birth of the movement, and identifies some of the factors its ongoing existence depends on.

The article discusses several aspects of the GOA movement: the alliance of scholars in the global centers and at the global peripheries, the alliance of public and clandestine operations, and its relationship with, and its differences from the Open Access (OA) approach, which aims to facilitate the accessibility of scholarly communications through legal means.

The goal of this article is to contribute to the discussions of the future of scholarly communications through the description of a phenomenon which poses the single greatest challenge to the scholarly publishing status quo in recent history.


Research impact of paywalled versus open access papers

Authors : Éric Archambault, Grégoire Côté, Brooke Struck, Matthieu Voorons

This note presents data from the 1science oaIndx on the average of relative citations (ARC) for 3.3 million papers published from 2007 to 2009 and indexed in the Web of Science (WoS).

These data show a decidedly large citation advantage for open access (OA) papers, despite them suffering from a lag in availability compared to paywalled papers.


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