Attracting new users or business as usual? A case study of converting academic subscription based journals to open access | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press Journals

Abstract:  This paper studies a selection of eleven Norwegian journals in the humanities and social sciences and their conversion from subscription to open access, a move heavily incentivized by governmental mandates and open access policies. By investigating the journals’ visiting logs in the period 2014-2019, the study finds that a conversion to open access induces higher visiting numbers; all journals in the study had a significant increase which can be attributed to the conversion. Converting a journal had no spillover in terms of increased visits to previously published articles still behind the paywall in the same journals. Visits from previously subscribing Norwegian higher education institutions did not account for the increase in visits, indicating that the increase must be accounted for by visitors from other sectors. The results could be relevant for policymakers concerning the effects of strict polices targeting economically vulnerable national journals, and could further inform journal owners and editors on the effects of converting to open access.


Sci-Hub Citation Study Confuses Causes With Effects – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Journal articles downloaded from Sci-Hub, an illegal site of pirated materials, were cited nearly twice as many times as non-downloaded articles, reports a new paper published online in the journal, Scientometrics….

Correa and colleagues could have added either one of these sources of usage data to their model to verify whether the Sci-Hub indicator continued to independently predict future citations. That would have confirmed whether Sci-Hub was a cause of — instead of merely associated with — future citations. Without such a control, the authors may have fumbled both their analysis and conclusion.

Sci-Hub may indeed lead to more article citations, although it is impossible to reach that conclusion from this study….”

Mandating access: assessing the NIH’s public access policy | Economic Policy | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  In April 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented the Public Access Policy (PAP), which mandated that the full text of NIH-supported articles be made freely available on PubMed Central – the NIH’s repository of biomedical research. This paper uses 600,000 NIH articles and a matched comparison sample to examine how the PAP impacted researcher access to the biomedical literature and publishing patterns in biomedicine. Though some estimates allow for large citation increases after the PAP, the most credible estimates suggest that the PAP had a relatively modest effect on citations, which is consistent with most researchers having widespread access to the biomedical literature prior to the PAP, leaving little room to increase access. I also find that NIH articles are more likely to be published in traditional subscription-based journals (as opposed to ‘open access’ journals) after the PAP. This indicates that any discrimination the PAP induced, by subscription-based journals against NIH articles, was offset by other factors – possibly the decisions of editors and submission behaviour of authors.


Will Plan S support or pervert Open Access ? | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

“From its inception, the open access movement has postulated that publishing costs should be controlled by research institutions and funded by redirecting resources after canceling journal subscriptions. In reality, things have proved more complex. Although « transformative agreements” that cover both publishing and reading have rapidly increased the percentage of articles published in open access in some institutions, the details of these agreements are generally kept secret and so their scope is difficult to compare.

Nevertheless, it is clear that making most articles open access but for a fee, if tariffs are not a realistic reflection of actual costs, will explode university library budgets (Harvard estimates this increase at 71%) and mark large differences in the ability to publish. Indeed, this could create a vicious circle whereby well-funded researchers publish more, gain more visibility as well as recognition and, as a result, get more funding.

If Plan S does not explicitly monitor and maintain, within the terms of its open publication requirement, an insurmountable ceiling on publication costs, these perverse effects of budget explosion will be inevitable. This is now where the challenge of communicating public research lies….”

Cite Unseen: Theory and Evidence on the Effect of Open Access on Cites to Academic Articles Across the Quality Spectrum | NBER

Abstract:  Our previous paper (McCabe and Snyder 2014) contained the provocative result that, despite a positive average effect, open access reduces cites to some articles, in particular those published in lower-tier journals. We propose a model in which open access leads more readers to acquire the full text, yielding more cites from some, but fewer cites from those who would have cited the article based on superficial knowledge but who refrain once they learn that the article is a bad match. We test the theory with data for over 200,000 science articles binned by cites received during a pre-study period. Consistent with the theory, the marginal effect of open access is negative for the least-cited articles, positive for the most cited, and generally monotonic for quality levels in between. Also consistent with the theory is a magnification of these effects for articles placed on PubMed Central, one of the broadest open-access platforms, and the differential pattern of results for cites from insiders versus outsiders to the article’s field.


A communication strategy based on Twitter improves article citation rate and impact factor of medical journals – ScienceDirect

[Note even an abstract is OA.] 

“Medical journals use Twitter to optimise their visibility on the scientific community. It is by far the most used social media to share publications, since more than 20% of published articles receive at least one announcement on Twitter (compared to less than 5% of notifications on other social networks) [5] . It was initially described that, within a medical specialty, journals with a Twitter account have a higher impact factor than others and that the number of followers is correlated to the impact factor of the journal [67] . Several observational works showed that the announcement of a medical article publication on Twitter was strongly associated with its citation rate in the following years 891011 . In 2015, among anaesthesia journals, journals with an active and influential Twitter account had an higher journal impact factor and a greater number of article citations than those not embracing social media [12] . A meta-analysis of July 2020 concluded that the presence of an article on social media was probably associated with a higher number of citations [13] . Finally, two randomised studies, published in 2020 and not included in this meta-analysis, also showed that, for a given journal, articles that benefited from exposure on Twitter were 1.5 to 9 times more cited in the year following publication than articles randomised in the “no tweeting” group [1415] 

The majority of these works have only been published very recently and the strategy for using Twitter to optimise the number of citations is now a challenge for all medical journals. Several retrospective studies have looked at the impact of the use of a social media communication strategy by medical journals. They have shown that the introduction of Twitter to communicate as part of this strategy was associated with a higher number of articles consulted, a higher number of citations and shorter delays in citation after publication [1617] . Two studies (including one on anaesthesia journals) showed that journals that used a Twitter account to communicate were more likely to increase their impact factor than those that did not [1218] . Some researchers even suggest that the dissemination of medical information through social media, allowing quick and easy access after the peer-review publication process, may supplant the classical academic medical literature in the future [19] . This evolution has led to the creation of a new type of Editor in several medical journal editorial boards: the social media Editor (sometimes with the creation of a “specialised social media team” to assist him or her) [20] . This medical Editor shares, across a range of social media platforms, new journal articles with the aim of improving dissemination of journal content. Thus, beyond the scientific interest of a given article, which determines its chances of being cited, there is currently a parallel Editorial work consisting in optimising the visibility on Twitter to increase the number of citations and improve the impact factor. Some authors also start to focus on the best techniques for using Twitter and on the best ways to tweet to optimise communication, for example during a medical congress [21] ….”


[2011.11940] Preprints as accelerator of scholarly communication: An empirical analysis in Mathematics

Abstract:  In this study we analyse the key driving factors of preprints in enhancing scholarly communication. To this end we use four groups of metrics, one referring to scholarly communication and based on bibliometric indicators (Web of Science and Scopus citations), while the others reflect usage (usage counts in Web of Science), capture (Mendeley readers) and social media attention (Tweets). Hereby we measure two effects associated with preprint publishing: publication delay and impact. We define and use several indicators to assess the impact of journal articles with previous preprint versions in arXiv. In particular, the indicators measure several times characterizing the process of arXiv preprints publishing and the reviewing process of the journal versions, and the ageing patterns of citations to preprints. In addition, we compare the observed patterns between preprints and non-OA articles without any previous preprint versions in arXiv. We could observe that the “early-view” and “open-access” effects of preprints contribute to a measurable citation and readership advantage of preprints. Articles with preprint versions are more likely to be mentioned in social media and have shorter Altmetric attention delay. Usage and capture prove to have only moderate but stronger correlation with citations than Tweets. The different slopes of the regression lines between the different indicators reflect different order of magnitude of usage, capture and citation data.


Towards societal impact through open research | Springer Nature | For Researchers | Springer Nature

“Open research is fundamentally changing the way that researchers communicate and collaborate to advance the pace and quality of discovery. New and dynamic open research-driven workflows are emerging, thus increasing the findability, accessibility, and reusability of results. Distribution channels are changing too, enabling others — from patients to businesses, to teachers and policy makers — to increasingly benefit from new and critical insights. This in turn has dramatically increased the societal impact of open research. But what remains less clear is the exact nature and scope of this wider impact as well as the societal relevance of the underpinning research….”


Gold Open Access research has greater societal impact as used more outside of academia | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“What impact does open research have on society and progressing global societal challenges?  The latest results of research carried out between Springer Nature, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Dutch University Libraries and the National Library consortium (UKB), illustrates a substantial advantage for content published via the Gold OA route where research is immediately and freely accessible.

Since the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in 2015, researchers, their funders and other collaborative partnerships have sought to explore the impact and contribution of open research on SDG development. However – until now – it has been challenging to map, and therefore identify, emerging trends and best practice for the research and wider community. Through a bibliometric analysis of nearly 360,000 documents published in 2017 and a survey of nearly 6,000 readers on Springer Nature websites, the new white paper, Open for All, Exploring the Reach of Open Access Content to Non-Academic Audiences shows not only the effects of content being published OA but more importantly who that research is reaching.”

An altmetric attention advantage for open access books in the humanities and social sciences | SpringerLink

Abstract:  The last decade has seen two significant phenomena emerge in research communication: the rise of open access (OA) publishing, and the easy availability of evidence of online sharing in the form of altmetrics. There has been limited examination of the effect of OA on online sharing for journal articles, and little for books. This paper examines the altmetrics of a set of 32,222 books (of which 5% are OA) and a set of 220,527 chapters (of which 7% are OA) indexed by the scholarly database Dimensions in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Both OA books and chapters have significantly higher use on social networks, higher coverage in the mass media and blogs, and evidence of higher rates of social impact in policy documents. OA chapters have higher rates of coverage on Wikipedia than their non-OA equivalents, and are more likely to be shared on Mendeley. Even within the Humanities and Social Sciences, disciplinary differences in altmetric activity are evident. The effect is confirmed for chapters, although sampling issues prevent the strong conclusion that OA facilitates extra attention at the whole book level, the apparent OA altmetrics advantage suggests that the move towards OA is increasing social sharing and broader impact.