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Is Open Access

Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009

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      BackgroundThe Internet has recently made possible the free global availability of scientific journal articles. Open Access (OA) can occur either via OA scientific journals, or via authors posting manuscripts of articles published in subscription journals in open web repositories. So far there have been few systematic studies showing how big the extent of OA is, in particular studies covering all fields of science.Methodology/Principal FindingsThe proportion of peer reviewed scholarly journal articles, which are available openly in full text on the web, was studied using a random sample of 1837 titles and a web search engine. Of articles published in 2008, 8,5% were freely available at the publishers' sites. For an additional 11,9% free manuscript versions could be found using search engines, making the overall OA percentage 20,4%. Chemistry (13%) had the lowest overall share of OA, Earth Sciences (33%) the highest. In medicine, biochemistry and chemistry publishing in OA journals was more common. In all other fields author-posted manuscript copies dominated the picture.Conclusions/SignificanceThe results show that OA already has a significant positive impact on the availability of the scientific journal literature and that there are big differences between scientific disciplines in the uptake. Due to the lack of awareness of OA-publishing among scientists in most fields outside physics, the results should be of general interest to all scholars. The results should also interest academic publishers, who need to take into account OA in their business strategies and copyright policies, as well as research funders, who like the NIH are starting to require OA availability of results from research projects they fund. The method and search tools developed also offer a good basis for more in-depth studies as well as longitudinal studies.

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      Most cited references 14

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      Not just a matter of time: Field differences and the shaping of electronic media in supporting scientific communication

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        Open access and global participation in science.

        Previous investigations into the impact of open-access journals on subsequent citations confounded open and electronic access and failed to track availability over time. With new data, we separated these effects. We demonstrate that a journal receives a modest increase in citations when it comes online freely, but the jump is larger when it first comes online through commercial sources. This effect reverses for poor countries where free-access articles are much more likely to be cited. Together, findings suggest that free Internet access widens the circle of those who read and make use of scientists' investigations.
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          The citation advantage of open-access articles


            Author and article information

            [1 ]HANKEN School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland
            [2 ]Innovation Center Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
            University of East Piedmont, Italy
            Author notes

            Conceived and designed the experiments: BCB. Performed the experiments: BCB PW ML PM TH GG. Analyzed the data: BCB PW PM TH. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PW. Wrote the paper: BCB PW ML PM TH.

            Role: Editor
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            23 June 2010
            : 5
            : 6
            Björk et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Pages: 9
            Research Article
            Science Policy



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