On Methodology and Advocacy: Davis’s Randomization Study of the OA Advantage


Open access, readership, citations: a randomized controlled trial of scientific journal publishing doi:10.1096/fj.11-183988fj.11-183988
Philip M. Davis: “Published today in The FASEB Journal we report the findings of our randomized controlled trial of open access publishing on article downloads and citations. This study extends a prior study of 11 journals in physiology (Davis et al, BMJ, 2008) reported at 12 months to 36 journals covering the sciences, social sciences and humanities at 3yrs. Our initial results are generalizable across all subject disciplines: open access increases article downloads but has no effect on article citations… You may expect a routine cut-and-paste reply by S.H. shortly… I see the world as a more complicated and nuanced place than through the lens of advocacy.

Sorry to disappoint! Nothing new to cut-and-paste or reply to:

Still no self-selected self-archiving control, hence no basis for the conclusions drawn (to the effect that the widely reported OA citation advantage is merely an artifact of a self-selection bias toward self-archiving the better, hence more citeable articles — a bias that the randomization eliminates). The methodological flaw, still uncorrected, has been pointed out before.

If and when the requisite self-selected self-archiving control is ever tested, the outcome will either be (1) the usual significant OA citation advantage in the self-archiving control condition that most other published studies have reported — in which case the absence of the citation advantage in Davis’s randomized condition would indeed be evidence that the citation advantage had been a self-selection artifact that was then successfully eliminated by the randomization — or (more likely, I should think) (2) there will be no significant citation advantage in the self-archiving control condition either, in which case the Davis study will prove to have been just a non-replication of the usual significant OA citation advantage (perhaps because of Davis’s small sample size, the fields, or the fact that most of the non-OA articles become OA on the journal’s website after a year).

Until the requisite self-selected self-archiving control is done, this is just the sound of one hand clapping.

Readers can be trusted to draw their own conclusions as to whether this study, tirelessly touted as the only methodologically sound one to date, is that — or an exercise in advocacy.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
EnablingOpenScholarship

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Those ACTIVE Open Access Journals!

In brief, this post presents data illustrating that scholarly open access journals have rates of ongoing activity that compare VERY favorably with subscriptions-based journals (i.e. not being cancelled), based on data gleaned from Ulrich’s. Also worth noting is the number of journals going back some time that are now open access – 370 journals listed as open access in Ulrich’s started publishing before 1960, and of these, 98% are still active! All of the searches that I am talking about are limited to academic/scholarly, refereed journals. Ulrich’s lists 3,525 such open access journals (a far cry from DOAJ’s more than 6,300). Of the journals listed in Ulrich’s as OA, 3,458, or 98%, are listed as active. This compares VERY favorably with ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals, a total of 32,058, of which 28,269 or 88% are active.

Could this reflect a certain reticence on the part of Ulrich’s to include open access journals until they are pretty sure that they are going to be around for a while? That would explain the discrepancy between Ulrich’s OA journal list and DOAJ’s. Let’s look at a few other figures. The chart on the left shows the percentage of active journals by publisher. On the left-hand side, we see that the publishers with the highest percentage of active journals are open access publishers Copernicus and Hindawi with 100% and 99% active titles respectively, while on the right hand side we see that two subscriptions-based publishers, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis, have a much lower percentage of active titles overall, 85%.

The chart on the right shows the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed journals for open access as a whole, and for a few selected publishers both open access and subscriptions based, for journals started in the last ten (10) years, from 2001 to 2010. Note that on the left side of the chart, open access publisher Copernicus has the highest percentage of active journals, 100%, followed closely by open access as a whole with 98%. On the right hand side, we see that Elsevier, with 89% of journals started in this time frame still active, has a lower percentage of active titles than at least 4 open access publishers (Copernicus, Hindawi, BioMed Central, and Public Library of Science). Still, this could reflect a hesitancy about open access on the part of Ulrich’s. I should note here that I needed to correct some of Ulrich’s figures, as a number of thriving PLoS journals were listed as cancelled, apparently because they cancelled print subscriptions (in favor of a leading-edge print-on-demand service).

If Ulrich’s is hesitating to add open access journals, perhaps this reflects a tendency to be conservative about adding new titles or publishers. This might make some sense – even DOAJ waits to be sure that a new journal actually publishes a bit before adding titles. To account for this, I looked at open access journals from a wide time range, and found that the percentage of active academic/scholarly, refereed open access journals was 93% or better for every time range I looked at, going back to before 1960! Needless to say, this compares VERY favorably with the 88% active titles for ALL academic/scholarly, refereed journals from all time ranges.

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.