Impact of OA preprints in economics

Tove Faber Frandsen, The effects of open access on un-published documents: A case study of economics working papers, forthcoming from the Journal of Informetrics.

Abstract:   The use of scholarly publications that have not been formally published in e.g. journals is widespread in some fields. In the past they have been disseminated through various channels of informal communication. However, the Internet has enabled dissemination of these unpublished and often unrefereed publications to a much wider audience. This is particularly interesting seen in relation to the highly disputed open access advantage as the potential advantage for low visibility publications has not been given much attention in the literature. The present study examines the role of working papers in economics during a ten-year period (1996 to 2005). It shows that working papers are increasingly becoming visible in the field specific databases. The impact of working papers is relatively low; however, high impact working paper series have citation rate levels similar to the low impact journals in the field. There is no tendency to an increase in impact during the ten years which is the case for the high impact journals. Consequently, the result of this study does not provide evidence of an open access advantage for working papers in economics.