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      Discipline-specific open access publishing practices and barriers to change: an evidence-based review

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      F1000Research
      F1000 Research, Ltd.

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          Abstract

          Background: Many of the discussions surrounding Open Access (OA) revolve around how it affects publishing practices across different academic disciplines. It was a long-held view that it would be only a matter of time for all disciplines to fully and relatively homogeneously implement OA. Recent large-scale bibliometric studies show however that the uptake of OA differs substantially across disciplines. This study investigates the underlying mechanisms that cause disciplines to vary in their OA publishing practices. We aimed to answer two questions: First, how do different disciplines adopt and shape OA publishing practices? Second, what discipline-specific barriers to and potentials for OA can be identified?

          Methods: In a first step, we identified and synthesized relevant bibliometric studies that assessed OA prevalence and publishing patterns across disciplines. In a second step, and adopting a social shaping of technology perspective, we studied evidence on the socio-technical forces that shape OA publishing practices. We examined a variety of data sources, including, but not limited to, publisher policies and guidelines, OA mandates and policies and author surveys.

          Results: Over the last three decades, scholarly publishing has experienced a shift from “closed” access to OA as the proportion of scholarly literature that is openly accessible has increased continuously. The shift towards OA is however uneven across disciplines in two respects: first, the growth of OA has been uneven across disciplines, which manifests itself in varying OA prevalence levels. Second, disciplines use different OA publishing channels to make research outputs OA.

          Conclusions: We conclude that historically grown publishing practices differ in terms of their compatibility with OA, which is the reason why OA can be assumed to be a natural continuation of publishing cultures in some disciplines, whereas in other disciplines, the implementation of OA faces major barriers and would require a change of research culture.

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          Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact

          Background In the past few years there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the proliferation of open access (OA) publishing would damage the peer review system and put the quality of scientific journal publishing at risk. Our aim was to inform this debate by comparing the scientific impact of OA journals with subscription journals, controlling for journal age, the country of the publisher, discipline and (for OA publishers) their business model. Methods The 2-year impact factors (the average number of citations to the articles in a journal) were used as a proxy for scientific impact. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was used to identify OA journals as well as their business model. Journal age and discipline were obtained from the Ulrich's periodicals directory. Comparisons were performed on the journal level as well as on the article level where the results were weighted by the number of articles published in a journal. A total of 610 OA journals were compared with 7,609 subscription journals using Web of Science citation data while an overlapping set of 1,327 OA journals were compared with 11,124 subscription journals using Scopus data. Results Overall, average citation rates, both unweighted and weighted for the number of articles per journal, were about 30% higher for subscription journals. However, after controlling for discipline (medicine and health versus other), age of the journal (three time periods) and the location of the publisher (four largest publishing countries versus other countries) the differences largely disappeared in most subcategories except for journals that had been launched prior to 1996. OA journals that fund publishing with article processing charges (APCs) are on average cited more than other OA journals. In medicine and health, OA journals founded in the last 10 years are receiving about as many citations as subscription journals launched during the same period. Conclusions Our results indicate that OA journals indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus are approaching the same scientific impact and quality as subscription journals, particularly in biomedicine and for journals funded by article processing charges.
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            Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009

            Background The 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 Findings The 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/Significance The 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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              The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                F1000Research
                F1000Res
                F1000 Research, Ltd.
                2046-1402
                2018
                December 11 2018
                : 7
                : 1925
                Article
                10.12688/f1000research.17328.1
                a8b50391-e2a7-4992-9995-f9eb2f5dc181
                © 2018

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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