Does Online Access Promote Research in Developing Countries? Empirical Evidence from Article-Level Data

Authors : Frank Mueller-Langer, Marc Scheufen, Patrick Waelbroeck

Universities in developing countries have rarely been able to subscribe to academic journals in the past. The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” initiative (OARE) provides institutions in developing countries with free online access to more than 5,700 environmental science journals.

Here we analyze the effect of OARE registration on scientific output by research institutions in five developing countries. We apply a difference-in-difference estimation method using panel data for 18,955 journal articles from 798 research institutions.

We find that online access via OARE increases publication output by at least 43% while lower-ranked institutions located in remote areas benefit less. These results are robust when we apply instrumental variables to account for the information diffusion process and a Bayesian estimation method to control for self-selection into the initiative.


Towards an open science publishing platform

Authors : Vitek Tracz, Rebecca Lawrence

The way science and research is done is rapidly becoming more open and collaborative. The traditional way of publishing new findings in journals is becoming increasingly outdated and no longer serves the needs of much of science.

Whilst preprints can bring significant benefits of removing delay and selection, they do not go far enough if simply implemented alongside the existing journal system. We propose that we need a new approach, an Open Science Platform, that takes the benefits of preprints but adds formal, invited, and transparent post-publication peer review.

This bypasses the problems of the current journal system and, in doing so, moves the evaluation of research and researchers away from the journal-based Impact Factor and towards a fairer system of article-based qualitative and quantitative indicators.

In the long term, it should be irrelevant where a researcher publishes their findings. What is important is that research is shared and made available without delay within a framework that encourages quality standards and requires all players in the research community to work as collaborators.

URL : Towards an open science publishing platform


Free articles and Accounting for the timing effect

Authors : Nursyeha Binte Yahaya, Tay Chee Hsien Aaron

Various studies have attempted to assess the amount of free full text available on the web and recent work have suggested that we are close to the 50% mark for freely available articles (Archambault et al. 2013; Björk et al. 2010; Jamali and Nabavi 2015).

Our paper contributes to the literature by taking into account the timing issue by studying when the papers were made free. We sampled citations made by researchers who published in 2015 (based on records in the Singapore Management University Institution repository), checked the number of cited papers that were free at the time of the study and then attempted to “carbon date” the freely available papers to determine when they were first made available.

This allows us to estimate the length of time the free cited article was made available before the citing paper was published. We find that in our sample of cited papers in Economics, the median freely available cited paper (oldest variant) was made available 7-8 years before the citing paper was published.

Of these papers found free via Google Scholar, the majority 67% (n=47) was made available via University websites (not including Institutional repositories) and 32.8% (n=23) were final published versions.


Scientific data science and the case for Open Access

Author : Gopal P. Sarma

“Open access” has become a central theme of journal reform in academic publishing. In this article, I examine the consequences of an important technological loophole in which publishers can claim to be adhering to the principles of open access by releasing articles in proprietary or “locked” formats that cannot be processed by automated tools, whereby even simple copy and pasting of text is disabled.

These restrictions will prevent the development of an important infrastructural element of a modern research enterprise, namely, scientific data science, or the use of data analytic techniques to conduct meta-analyses and investigations into the scientific corpus.

I give a brief history of the open access movement, discuss novel journalistic practices, and an overview of data-driven investigation of the scientific corpus. I argue that particularly in an era where the veracity of many research studies has been called into question, scientific data science should be one of the key motivations for open access publishing.

The enormous benefits of unrestricted access to the research literature should prompt scholars from all disciplines to reject publishing models whereby articles are released in proprietary formats or are otherwise restricted from being processed by automated tools as part of a data science pipeline.

URL : Scientific data science and the case for Open Access



Article Deposit Services in Support of Federal Agency Public Access Requirements

Authors : Michael Boock, Hui Zhang, Erin Clark


Academic libraries have experimented with a variety of services to encourage article deposit to institutional repositories, with varying degrees of success. Universities now face the challenge of meeting federal agency public access requirements.

Following the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy public access directive in 2013, Oregon State University (OSU) initiated an article deposit service to help faculty meet funding agency requirements and facilitate deposit of articles to both federal agency repositories and the institutional repository.

This case study describes the article deposit form developed by the library to encourage article deposits to the institutional repository and federal agency repositories, the processes and people put in place to request and deposit the articles, and the impact of the service on the number of articles deposited to federal agency repositories.


In the two years since the article deposit service was initiated, a total of 102 articles have been deposited by the library to the PubMed Central or PAGES federal agency repositories.

The inclusion of a request for faculty to indicate federal funding in the article deposit form has not resulted in increased article self deposits. Identifying and requesting National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Energy funded articles from faculty for deposit to the institutional repository and to the agency repositories has also not received substantial uptake.

The majority of articles that have been deposited to federal agency repositories by the library were received after library staff reviewed bibliographies of grant funded research for compliance with public access policies.


As a result, the library is now working with the university office of research to promote a service that asks faculty for a bibliography of their articles that result from NIH or DOE funding, identifies those that need to be deposited to the agency repositories, and provides a link to the library’s article deposit form for them to initiate article deposits to the institutional repository and to agency repositories.

URL : Article Deposit Services in Support of Federal Agency Public Access Requirements


Drivers and Implications of Scientific Open Access Publishing : Findings from a Pilot OECD International Survey of Scientific Authors

Authors : Brunella Boselli, Fernando Galindo-Rueda

This paper presents the results of a new and experimental study on the research and publishing activities of scientific authors. It also aimed to test the feasibility of an OECD global survey on science with a focus on major emerging policy issues.

This online, email-based pilot survey was based on a stratified random sample of corresponding authors of publications listed in a major global scientific publication index across seven diverse, hand-picked science domains.

The results provide evidence of the extent of journal and repository-based open access, data sharing practices, the link between different forms of open access to research and research impact, and the decoupling of quality assurance and access roles played by journals.

The results point to the importance of considering economic incentives and social norms in developing policy options for open access. The findings also provide new insights on scientist careers, mobility and gender pay bias.