The effect of bioRxiv preprints on citations and altmetrics

Authors : Nicholas Fraser, Fakhri Momeni, Philipp Mayr, Isabella Peters

A potential motivation for scientists to deposit their scientific work as preprints is to enhance its citation or social impact, an effect which has been empirically observed for preprints in physics, astronomy and mathematics deposited to arXiv. In this study we assessed the citation and altmetric advantage of bioRxiv, a preprint server for the biological sciences.

We retrieved metadata of all bioRxiv preprints deposited between November 2013 and December 2017, and matched them to articles that were subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals. Citation data from Scopus and altmetric data from were used to compare citation and online sharing behaviour of bioRxiv preprints, their related journal articles, and non-deposited articles published in the same journals.

We found that bioRxiv-deposited journal articles received a sizeable citation and altmetric advantage over non-deposited articles. Regression analysis reveals that this advantage is not explained by multiple explanatory variables related to the article and its authorship.

bioRxiv preprints themselves are being directly cited in journal articles, regardless of whether the preprint has been subsequently published in a journal. bioRxiv preprints are also shared widely on Twitter and in blogs, but remain relatively scarce in mainstream media and Wikipedia articles, in comparison to peer-reviewed journal articles.


From closed to open access: A case study of flipped journals

Authors : Fakhri Momeni, Nicholas Fraser, Isabella Peters, Philipp Mayr

In recent years, increased stakeholder pressure to transition research to Open Access has led to many journals “flipping” from a toll access to an open access publishing model. Changing the publishing model can influence the decision of authors to submit their papers to a journal, and increased article accessibility may influence citation behaviour.

The aim of this paper is to show changes in the number of published articles and citations after the flipping of a journal. We analysed a set of 171 journals in the Web of Science (WoS) which flipped to open access.

In addition to comparing the number of articles, average relative citation (ARC) and normalized impact factor (IF) are applied, respectively, as bibliometric indicators at the article and journal level, to trace the transformation of flipped journals covered.

Our results show that flipping mostly has had positive effects on journal’s IF. But it has had no obvious citation advantage for the articles. We also see a decline in the number of published articles after flipping.

We can conclude that flipping to open access can improve the performance of journals, despite decreasing the tendency of authors to submit their articles and no better citation advantages for articles.