On the culture of open access: the Sci-hub paradox

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

Shadow libraries have gradually become key players of scientific knowledge dissemination, despite their illegality in most countries of the world. Many publishers and scientist-editors decry such libraries for their copyright infringement and loss of publication usage information, while some scholars and institutions support them, sometimes in a roundabout way, for their role in reducing inequalities of access to knowledge, particularly in low-income countries. Although there is a wealth of literature on shadow libraries, none of this have focused on its potential role in knowledge dissemination, through the open access movement.

Here we analyze how shadow libraries can affect researchers’ citation practices, highlighting some counter-intuitive findings about their impact on the Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA). Based on a large randomized sample, this study first shows that OA publications, including those in fully OA journals, receive more citations than their subscription-based counterparts do.

However, the OACA has slightly decreased over the seven last years. The introduction of a distinction between those accessible or not via the Sci-hub platform among subscription-based suggest that the generalization of its use cancels the positive effect of OA publishing. The results show that publications in fully OA journals (and to a lesser extent those in hybrid journals) are victims of the success of Sci-hub.

Thus, paradoxically, although Sci-hub may seem to facilitate access to scientific knowledge, it negatively affects the OA movement as a whole, by reducing the comparative advantage of OA publications in terms of visibility for researchers. The democratization of the use of Sci-hub may therefore lead to a vicious cycle against the development of fully OA journals.

URL : On the culture of open access: the Sci-hub paradox

DOI : https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2357492/v1


Do open-access dermatology articles have higher citation counts than those with subscription-based access?

Authors : Fangyi Xie, Sherief Ghozy, David F. Kallmes, Julia S. Lehman


Open-access (OA) publishing is increasingly prevalent in dermatology, and many journals now offer hybrid options, including conventional (subscription-based access [SA]) publishing or OA (with an author publishing charge) in a subscription journal. OA publishing has been noted in many disciplines, but this has been rarely studied in dermatology.


Using the Clarivate Journal Citation Report, we compiled a list of English-language dermatology hybrid OA journals containing more than 5% OA articles. We sampled any OA review or original research article in 4 issues from 2018 to 2019 and matched an equal number of SA articles. Citation count, citation count excluding self-citations and view counts found using Scopus and Altmetrics score were recorded for each article. Statistical analyses were performed using logistic and negative binomial models using R software.


Twenty-seven hybrid dermatology journals were found, and 538 articles were sampled (269 OA, 269 SA). For both original research and review articles, OA articles had significantly higher mean citation counts (mean 13.2, standard deviation [SD] 17.0) compared to SA articles (mean 7.9, SD 8.8) (odds ratio [OR] 1.04; 95% CI 1.02–1.05; P < .001) including when adjusted for time from publication.

Original research OA articles had significantly higher citation counts than original research SA articles (excluding self-citations; OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01–1.05; P = .003), and review articles also had OA citation advantage than review SA articles (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.11; P = .008). There was, however, no significant difference in citation counts between review articles and original research articles (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.19–5.31; P = 1.000).

There was no significant difference seen in view counts (OA: mean±SD 17.7±10.8; SA: mean±SD 17.1±12.4) and Altmetric score (OA: mean±SD 13.2±47.8; SA: mean±SD 6.3±25.0) between OA and SA articles. Potential confounders included the fact that more OA articles were published in Europe than in Asia, and pharmaceutical-funded articles were more likely to be published OA.


We noted a higher citation count for OA articles than SA articles in dermatology hybrid journals. However, dermatology researchers should take into account confounding factors when deciding whether to increase the impact of their work by selecting OA over SA publishing.

URL : Do open-access dermatology articles have higher citation counts than those with subscription-based access?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0279265

Perceptions regarding open science appraised by editors of scholarly publications published in Spain

Authors : Remedios Melero, Juan-José Boté-Vericad, Alexandre López-Borrull

Pillars of open science are often included within the editorial policies of scholarly journals, including policies on open access publication, availability of underlying research data, preprints and open peer review.

The aim of this paper is to examine and analyse perceptions and editorial practices related to open access, preprints, open research data and open peer review, from the perspective of editors of scientific journals published in Spain, to gain an insight into editorial policies related to open science.

Results and data were obtained by a combined method of online interviews and an online questionnaire. The online survey was sent to editors from journals indexed in the Dulcinea directory, which at the time of the study included 1875 academic journals. A total of 420 responses (22.4%) were obtained.

The results indicated that 92% of the journals were open access journals, 2% of the journals conducted open peer review, 15% of the journals had instructions to allow archiving preprints, and out of 375 responses, only 59 journals (16%) reported having a policy on underlying research data.

Based on these results, there is a trend in favour of open access, but the perceived barriers to open peer review outweighed the advantages. There is also some reluctance to allow preprints to be made available.

This concern might be because editors want authors and readers to read and cite the contents published in their journals, rather than their preprint versions.

URL : Perceptions regarding open science appraised by editors of scholarly publications published in Spain

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1511

Faculty Perceptions of Open Access Publishing: Investigating Faculty Publishing Habits to Evaluate Library Collection Alignment

Authors : Elisabeth Shook, Amy Vecchione


This investigation, originally conceived as a method for informing Albertsons Library on creative solutions to the collections budget shortfall, sought to determine an institution’s faculty perceptions of publishing and/or using open access (OA) materials, as well as to identify future mechanisms that would shift perceptions of OA publishing to a more favorable light, thereby fostering adoption of OA materials in faculty research and teaching.


The study used an anonymous electronic survey of 468 faculty members, with a response rate of nearly 34%.

Results and Discussion

Respondents indicated a mixed set of adoption, with equal distribution in willingness to engage with OA journals and publications. Quality of OA publications, combined with concerns for tenure and promotion, holds faculty back from utilizing OA journals and publications in their own research and in the classroom.


The data collected through the course of this perceptions survey provide important insight into the perceptions of faculty at this point in time, laying the groundwork for future surveys to evaluate growth in engagement with OA publishing.

Though the data provided do not immediately alleviate collections budget constraints at Albertsons Library, the survey contributed to a more holistic understanding of faculty publishing behavior in OA journals.

URL : Faculty Perceptions of Open Access Publishing: Investigating Faculty Publishing Habits to Evaluate Library Collection Alignment

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31274/jlsc.13216

Phase 1 of the NIH Preprint Pilot: Testing the viability of making preprints discoverable in PubMed Central and PubMed

Authors : Kathryn Funk, Teresa Zayas-Cabán, Jeffrey Beck


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched a pilot in June 2020 to 1) explore the feasibility and utility of adding preprints to PubMed Central (PMC) and making them discoverable in PubMed and 2) to support accelerated discoverability of NIH-supported research without compromising user trust in NLM’s widely used literature services.


The first phase of the Pilot focused on archiving preprints reporting NIH-supported SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 research. To launch Phase 1, NLM identified eligible preprint servers and developed processes for identifying NIH-supported preprints within scope in these servers.

Processes were also developed for the ingest and conversion of preprints in PMC and to send corresponding records to PubMed. User interfaces were modified for display of preprint records. NLM collected data on the preprints ingested and discovery of preprint records in PMC and PubMed and engaged users through focus groups and a survey to obtain direct feedback on the Pilot and perceptions of preprints.


Between June 2020 and June 2022, NLM added more than 3,300 preprint records to PMC and PubMed, which were viewed 4 million times and 3 million times, respectively. Nearly a quarter of preprints in the Pilot were not associated with a peer-reviewed published journal article. User feedback revealed that the inclusion of preprints did not have a notable impact on trust in PMC or PubMed.


NIH-supported preprints can be identified and added to PMC and PubMed without disrupting existing operations processes. Additionally, inclusion of preprints in PMC and PubMed accelerates discovery of NIH research without reducing trust in NLM literature services.

Phase 1 of the Pilot provided a useful testbed for studying NIH investigator preprint posting practices, as well as knowledge gaps among user groups, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, an unusual time with heightened interest in immediate access to research results.

Open access and predatory publishing: a survey of the publishing practices of academic pharmacists and nurses in the United States

Authors : Bridget C. Conlogue, Neyda V. Gilman, Louisa M. Holmes

Objective: Academics are under great pressure to publish their research, the rewards for which are well known (tenure, promotion, grant funding, professional prestige). As open access publishing gains acceptance as a publishing option, researchers may choose a “predatory publisher.” The purpose of this study is to investigate the motivations and rationale of pharmacy and nursing academics in the United States to publish in open access journals that may be considered “predatory.”

Methods: A 26-item questionnaire was programmed in Qualtrics and distributed electronically to approximately 4,500 academic pharmacists and nurses, 347 of whom completed questionnaires (~8%). Pairwise correlations were performed followed by a logistic regression to evaluate statistical associations between participant characteristics and whether participants had ever paid an article processing fee (APF).

Results: Participants who had published more articles, were more familiar with predatory publishing, and who were more concerned about research metrics and tenure were more likely to have published in open access journals. Moderate to high institutional research intensity has an impact on the likelihood of publishing open access. The majority of participants who acknowledged they had published in a predatory journal took no action after realizing the journal was predatory and reported no negative impact on their career for having done so.

Conclusion: The results of this study provide data and insight into publication decisions made by pharmacy and nursing academics. Gaining a better understanding of who publishes in predatory journals and why can help address the problems associated with predatory publishing at the root.

URL : Open access and predatory publishing: a survey of the publishing practices of academic pharmacists and nurses in the United States

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2022.1377

The status of the digital preservation policies and plans of the institutional repositories of selected public universities in Kenya

Authors : Hellen Ndegwa, Emily Bosire, Damaris Odero

Institutional repositories (IRs) have a leading role in providing long-term access to the research output of universities. This study assessed the capabilities of institutional repositories in Kenya to support long-term preservation of digital content by reviewing digital preservation policies and plans.

Data was collected through face-to-face interviews from 19 respondents drawn from three public universities that were identified by their registration in OpenDOAR, ROARMAP and the number of items in their repositories.

Additional data was acquired through analysis of documents such as open access policies and mandates, as well as institutional websites. Findings revealed that the organizations were poorly prepared to support long-term digital preservation.

Policies were inadequate and plans to support the implementation of the policies were lacking. The study concluded that although the IRs were to undertake digital preservation, they lacked clearly defined actions from plans and policy.

This article offers recommendations, including identifying digital preservation goals that will guide policy formulation and multi-stakeholder involvement in the policy-making process. Effort should also be made to create awareness of the relationship between digital content selection and its successful long-term preservation.

URL : The status of the digital preservation policies and plans of the institutional repositories of selected public universities in Kenya

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.590