Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

Abstract:  The open access movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study open access (OA) continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open. This project set out to study just how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and how library and information science authors compare to other disciplines researching this field. Because of the growth of tools available to help researchers find open versions of articles, this study also sought to compare how these new tools compare to Google Scholar in their ability to disseminating OA research. From a sample collected from Web of Science of articles published since 2010, the study found that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not. A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In looking at the copyright of these articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors were more likely to retain copyright ownership if they printed in an open journal compared to authors in hybrid journals. Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

Help request paywalled articles about Open Access be made accessible

“We can request this research through the Open Access Button. Teresa and I both requested 20 each. We’d love for you to help us request the rest. It’s easy and you can help make more research accessible to all whether you have time to make 1 or 50 requests!

1: Create an Open Access Button account.  All that is needed is your email (to notify you when the request is fulfilled), but you can also provide your name, position, and/or affiliation (authors are more likely to help actual people).

2. Search  Grab the DOI or title from this spreadsheet and paste it into the search box on the Open Access Button site.

3. Share a story and submit Tell the Button how getting access to the research will help you?—?this will be shared with the author and can be critical in convincing them to archive their research. You can either use the story below that Teresa and I have used, or create your own.

I’m really excited about your research related to Open Access. Unfortunately, it is not accessible to all. Librarians, open access advocates, and researchers could benefit from your article if you make it openly available. Please archive it, so we can all learn from your research!

4. Update the spreadsheet After you submit your request, copy the url and paste it in the “OAB Request Link” field on the spreadsheet.

That’s it! You’re a star!

The Open Access Button’s request system will email the author and request they archive the article to make it accessible to everyone. Thanks for helping make more research open!”