Open is not forever: A study of vanished open access journals

Authors : Mikael Laakso, Lisa Matthias, Najko Jahn

The preservation of the scholarly record has been a point of concern since the beginning of knowledge production. With print publications, the responsibility rested primarily with librarians, but the shift toward digital publishing and, in particular, the introduction of open access (OA) have caused ambiguity and complexity.

Consequently, the long‐term accessibility of journals is not always guaranteed, and they can even disappear from the web completely. The focus of this exploratory study is on the phenomenon of vanished journals, something that has not been carried out before.

For the analysis, we consulted several major bibliographic indexes, such as Scopus, Ulrichsweb, and the Directory of Open Access Journals, and traced the journals through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

We found 174 OA journals that, through lack of comprehensive and open archives, vanished from the web between 2000 and 2019, spanning all major research disciplines and geographic regions of the world.

Our results raise vital concern for the integrity of the scholarly record and highlight the urgency to take collaborative action to ensure continued access and prevent the loss of more scholarly knowledge.

We encourage those interested in the phenomenon of vanished journals to use the public dataset for their own research.

URL : Open is not forever: A study of vanished open access journals