AbstractA Megajournal is an open access journal which publishes any manuscript which presents scientifically trustworthy empirical results, without asking about the potential scientific contribution prior to publication. Megajournals have rapidly increased their output and are currently publishing around 50,000 articles per year. We report on a small pilot study in which we looked at the citation distributions for articles in megajournals compared to journals with traditional peer review, which also evaluate the proposed ”contribution”. We found that elite journals with very low acceptance rates have far fewer articles with no or few citations, but that the long tail of articles with two citations or less was actually bigger in a sample of more selective traditional journals in comparison to megajournals. This indicates the need for more systematic studies, since the results raise a lot of questions as to how efficiently the current peer review system in reality fulfills its filtering function.
This is a preprint (submitted version prior to peer review, 29.10.2015) of the article published in Learned Publishing, Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 9–12, January 2016, DOI: DOI: 10.1002/leap.1007 If you cite this paper, please also provide the bibliographic information to the published version.
For over a decade the Open Access debate has been focused on two solutions for providing universal access to the scholarly journal literature, a gold one of newly founded or converted OA journals, and a green one of openly available manuscript copies in institutional repositories. Recent developments are indicating that the mechanisms within these two routes might look quite different from previously envisaged. Firstly authors now seem more prone to choose academic social networks instead of institutional repositories for posting copies of their published articles. Secondly major publishers are increasingly tapping into the OA market, by founding mega-journals and by negotiating agreements bundling subscription e-licenses with hybrid OA for whole countries. If such deals proliferate this could provide a mechanism for the publishers to flip their whole journal portfolios to full OA at the same total revenue level as before.
Preprint (submitted version prior to peer review 14.1.2016) of article to be published in Learned Publishing in the April 2016 issue. If you cite this paper please also put in the reference to the published article, the exact bibliographical information of which can be found on the journal website.
The subscription prices of peer-reviewed journals have in the past not been closely related to the scientific quality. This relationship has been further obscured by bundled e-licenses. The situation is different for open access (OA) journals that finance their operations via article processing charges (APCs). Due to competition and the fact that authors are often directly involved in making APC payments from their own or other limited funds, APC pricing has so far been sensitive to the quality and services offered by journals. We conducted a systematic survey of prices charged by OA journals indexed in Scopus and this revealed a moderate (0.40) correlation between the APCs and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) values, a measure of citation rates. When weighted by article volumes the correlations between the quality and the price were significantly higher (0.67). This would seem to indicate that while publishers to some extent take the quality into account when pricing their journals, authors are even more sensitive to the relationship between price and quality in their choices of where to submit their manuscripts.
You can access the accepted version here
Published online in Scientometrics March 2015 DOI 10.1007/s11192-015-1556-z
The degree to which scholarly journal articles published in subscription-based journals could be provided open access (OA) through publisher-permitted uploading to freely accessible web locations, so called green OA, is an underexplored area of research. This study combines article volume data originating from the Scopus bibliographic database with manually coded publisher policies of the 100 largest journal publishers measured by article output volume for the year 2010. Of the 1,1 million articles included in the analysis, 80.4% could be uploaded either as an accepted manuscript or publisher version to an institutional or subject repository after one year of publication. Publishers were found to be substantially more permissive with allowing accepted manuscripts on personal webpages (78.1% of articles) or in institutional repositories (79.9%) compared to subject repositories (32.8%). With previous studies suggesting realized green OA to be around 12% of total annual articles the results highlight the substantial unused potential for green OA. Keywords Open access, self-archiving, scientific publishing, science policy
You can access the Accepted version here
This is an accepted manuscript version for an article to be published in the journal Scientometrics.
Copyright to the final published article belongs to Springer/Akadémiai Kiadó.
Laakso, M. (2014). Green open access policies of scholarly journal publishers: a study of what,when, and where self-archiving is allowed. Scientometrics. In press.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11192-013-1205-3
Publishing in scholarly peer reviewed journals usually entails long delays from submission to publication. In part this is due to the length of the peer review process and in part because of the dominating tradition of publication in issues, earlier a necessity of paper-based publishing, which creates backlogs of manuscripts waiting in line. The delays slow the dissemination of scholarship and can provide a significant burden on the academic careers of authors. Using a stratified random sample we studied average publishing delays in 2700 papers published in 135 journals sampled from the Scopus citation index. The shortest overall delays occur in science technology and medical (STM) fields and the longest in social science, arts/humanities and business/economics. Business/economics with a delay of 18 months took twice as long as chemistry with a 9 month average delay. Analysis of the variance indicated that by far the largest amount of variance in the time between submission and acceptance was among articles within a journal as compared with journals, disciplines or the size of the journal. For the time between acceptance and publication most of the variation in delay can be accounted for by differences between specific journals
Codebook and data
Delayed open access (OA) refers to scholarly articles in subscription journals made available openly on the web directly through the publisher at the expiry of a set embargo period. Though a substantial number of journals have practiced delayed OA since they started publishing e-versions, empirical studies concerning open access have often overlooked this body of literature. This study provides comprehensive quantitative measurements by identifying delayed OA journals, collecting data concerning their publication volumes, embargo lengths, and citation rates. Altogether 492 journals were identified, publishing a combined total of 111 312 articles in 2011. 77,8 % of these articles were made open access within 12 months from publication, with 85,4 % becoming available within 24 months. A journal impact factor analysis revealed that delayed OA journals have on average twice as high average citation rates compared to closed subscription journals, and three times as high as immediate OA journals. Overall the results demonstrate that delayed OA journals constitute an important segment of the openly available scholarly journal literature, both by their sheer article
This is a preprint of an article accepted for publication in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Copyright © 2012 (American Society for Information Science and Technology)
Subject repositories are open web collections of working papers or manuscript copies of published scholarly articles, specific to particular scientific disciplines. The first repositories emerged already in the early 1990’s and in some fields of science they have become an important channel for the dissemination of research results. Using quite strict inclusion criteria 56 subject repositories were identified from a much larger number indexed in two repository indexes. A closer study of these demonstrated a huge variety in sizes, organizational models, functions and topics. When they first started to emerge subject repositories catered to a strong market demand, but the later development of Internet search engines, the rapid growth of institutional repositories and the tightening up of journal publisher OA policies seems to be slowing down their growth.
This is the accepted version of an article that will be published in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.
The move from subscription only publishing of scholarly articles to open access has been much slower than previously anticipated by many Open Access (OA) advocates. Despite the many advantages that OA offers, this particular branch of E-commerce imposes several formidable barriers to change. A framework conceptualizing these barriers that was developed over a decade ago was revisited to see if the significance of these barriers has changed. Nowadays, building the IT infrastructure, support from indexing services and finding a sustainable business model are no longer important barriers. For gold OA publishing the academic reward system is still a major obstacle, whereas more marketing and critical mass is needed for both gold OA and green OA. Green OA self-archiving is still also strongly affected by what subscription publishers allow. In the overall balance the situation has nevertheless improved significantly.
Publications 2013, 1(1), 5-15; doi:10.3390/publications1010005
This study assessed characteristics of publishers who published 2010 open access (OA) journals indexed in Scopus. Publishers were categorized into six types; professional, society, university, scholar/researcher, government, and other organizations. Type of publisher was broken down by number of journals/articles published in 2010, funding model, location, discipline and whether the journal was born or converted to OA. Universities and societies accounted for 50% of the journals and 43% of the articles published. Professional publisher accounted for a third of the journals and 42% of the articles. With the exception of professional and scholar/researcher publishers, most journals were originally subscription journals that made at least their digital version freely available. Arts, humanities and social science journals are largely published by societies and universities outside the major publishing countries. Professional OA publishing is most common in biomedicine, mathematics, the sciences and engineering. Approximately a quarter of the journals are hosted on national/international platforms, in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia largely published by universities and societies without the need for publishing fees. This type of collaboration between governments, universities and/or societies may be an effective means of expanding open access publications.
Publications 2013, 1, 16-26; doi:10.3390/publications1010016
The study documents the growth in the number of journals and articles along with the increase in normalized citation rates of open access (OA) journals listed in the Scopus bibliographic database between 1999 and 2010. Longitudinal statistics on growth in journals/articles and citation rates are broken down by funding model, discipline, and whether the journal was launched or had converted to OA. The data were retrieved from the web sites of SCIMago Journal and Country Rank (journal /article counts), JournalM3trics (SNIP2 values), Scopus (journal discipline) and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) (OA and funding status). OA journals/articles have grown much faster than subscription journals but still make up less that 12% of the journals in Scopus. Two-year citation averages for journals funded by article processing charges (APCs) have reached the same level as subscription journals. Citation averages of OA journals funded by other means continue to lag well behind OA journals funded by APCs and subscription journals. We hypothesize this is less an issue of quality than due to the fact that such journals are commonly published in languages other than English and tend to be located outside the four major publishing countries.
This accepted version that has published in the Journal of Informetrics.
The final published version may be accessed here
It has been approximately 20 years since distributing scholarly journals digitally became feasible. This article discusses the broad implications of the transition to digital distributed scholarship from a historical perspective and focuses on the development of open access (OA) and the various models for funding OA in the context of the roles scholarly journals play in scientific communities.
Solomon DJ, Digital distribution of academic journals and its impact on scholarly communication: Looking back after 20 years. J Acad Librarianship 39 (2013), pp. 23-28 DOI: 10.1016/j.acalib.2012.10.001. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved
Open Access (OA) is the free unrestricted access to electronic versions of scholarly publications. For peer reviewed journal articles there are two main routes to OA, publishing in OA journals (gold OA) or archiving of article copies or manuscripts at other web locations (green OA). This study focuses on summarizing and extending upon current knowledge about green OA. A synthesis of previous studies indicates that the green OA coverage of all published journal articles is approximately 12 %, with substantial disciplinary variation. Typically, green OA copies become available with considerable time delays, partly caused by publisher imposed embargo periods, and partly by author tendencies to archive manuscripts only periodically. Although green OA copies should ideally be archived in proper repositories, a large share is stored on home pages and similar locations, with no assurance of long-term preservation. Often such locations contain exact copies of published articles, which may infringe on the publisher’s exclusive rights. The technical foundation for green OA uploading is becoming increasingly solid, which is largely due to the rapid increase in the number of institutional repositories. The number of articles within the scope of OA mandates, which strongly influence the selfarchival rate of articles, is nevertheless still low.
Accepted Version This is the accepted version of an article that will be published in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.
Article Processing Charges (APCs) are a central mechanism for funding Open Access (OA) scholarly publishing. We studied the APCs charged and article volumes of journals that were listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals as charging APCs. These included 1,370 journals that published 100,697 articles in 2010. The average APC was 906 US Dollars (USD) calculated over journals and 904 US Dollars USD calculated over articles. The price range varied between 8 and 3,900 USD, with the lowest prices charged by journals published in developing countries and the highest by journals with high impact factors from major international publishers. Journals in Biomedicine represent 59% of the sample and 58% of the total article volume. They also had the highest APCs of any discipline. Professionally published journals, both for profit and nonprofit had substantially higher APCs than society, university or scholar/researcher published journals. These price estimates are lower than some previous studies of OA publishing and much lower than is generally charged by subscription publishers making individual articles open access in what are termed hybrid journals.
This is the accepted version of an article published in The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology copyright © 2012 (American Society for Information Science and Technology)
Mainstream scholarly publishers have since 2004 started to offer authors in subscription journals the possibility to free their individual articles from access barriers against a payment (hybrid OA). This has been marketed as a possible gradual transition path between subscription and open access to the scholarly journal literature, and the publishers have pledged to decrease their subscription prices in proportion to the uptake of the hybrid option. The number of hybrid journals has doubled in the past couple of years and is now over 4,300, and the number of such articles was around 12,000 in 2011. On average only 1-2 % of eligible authors utilize the OA option, due mainly to the generally high price level of typically 3,000 USD. There are, however, a few publishers and individual journals with a much higher uptake. This article takes a closer look at the development of hybrid OA and discusses, from an author-centric viewpoint, the possible reasons for the lack of success of this business model.
The article processing charge (APC) is currently the primary method of funding professionally published Open Access peer reviewed journals. The pricing principles of 77 OA publishers publishing over 1000 journals using APCs were studied and classified. The most commonly used pricing method is a single fixed fee, which can either be the same for all of a publisher’s journals or individually determined for each journal. Fees are usually only levied for publication of accepted papers, but there are some journals that also charge submission fees. Instead of fixed prices many publishers charge by the page or have multi-tiered fees depending on the length of articles. The country of origin of the author can also influence the pricing, in order to facilitate publishing for authors from developing countries.
Björk, Bo-Christer, Solomon, David, 2012, Pricing Principles used by Scholarly Open Access Publishers, Learned Publishing, 25(3): 132-137, http://dx.doi.org/10.1087/20120207
Open access (OA) journals distribute their content at no charge and use other means of funding the publication process. Publication fees or article-processing charges (APC)s have become the predominant means for funding professional OA publishing. We surveyed 1,038 authors who recently published articles in 74 OA journals that charge APCs stratified into seven discipline categories. Authors were asked about the source of funding for the APC, factors influencing their choice of a journal and past history publishing in OA and subscription journals. Additional information about the journal and the authors’ country were obtained from the journal website. A total of 429 (41%) authors from 69 journals completed the survey. There were large differences in the source of funding among disciplines. Journals with impact factors charged higher APCs as did journals from disciplines where grant funding is plentiful. Fit, quality, and speed of publication were the most important factors in the authors’ choice of a journal. OA was less important but a significant factor for many authors in their choice of a journal to publish. These findings are consistent with other research on OA publishing and suggest that OA publishing funded through APCs is likely to continue to grow.
Solomon DJ, Björk B-C. Publication fees in open access publishing: Sources of funding and factors influencing choice of journal Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology Volume 63, Issue 1, pages 98–107, January 2012 DOI: 10.1002/asi.21660
Background: The emergence of the Internet has triggered tremendous changes in the publication of scientific peer-reviewed journals. Today, journals are usually available in parallel electronic versions, but the way the peer-review process works, the look of articles and journals, and the rigid and slow publication schedules have remained largely unchanged, at least for the vast majority of subscription-based journals. Those publishing firms and scholarly publishers who have chosen the more radical option of open access (OA), in which the content of journals is freely accessible to anybody with Internet connectivity, have had a much bigger degree of freedom to experiment with innovations. Objective: The objective was to study how open access journals have experimented with innovations concerning ways of organizing the peer review, the format of journals and articles, new interactive and media formats, and novel publishing revenue models.
Methods: The features of 24 open access journals were studied. The journals were chosen in a nonrandom manner from the approximately 7000 existing OA journals based on available information about interesting journals and include both representative cases and highly innovative outlier cases.
Results: Most early OA journals in the 1990s were founded by individual scholars and used a business model based on voluntary work close in spirit to open-source development of software. In the next wave, many long-established journals, in particular society journals and journals from regions such as Latin America, made their articles OA when they started publishing parallel electronic versions. From about 2002 on, newly founded professional OA publishing firms using article-processing charges to fund their operations have emerged. Over the years, there have been several experiments with new forms of peer review, media enhancements, and the inclusion of structured data sets with articles. In recent years, the growth of OA publishing has also been facilitated by the availability of open-source software for journal publishing.
Conclusions: The case studies illustrate how a new technology and a business model enabled by new technology can be harnessed to find new innovative ways for the organization and content of scholarly publishing. Several recent launches of OA journals by major subscription publishers demonstrate that OA is rapidly gaining acceptance as a sustainable alternative to subscription-based scholarly publishing.
Journal of Medical Internet Research,13(4):e115 (Open Access)
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.
Published Version (Open Access)
When authors of scholarly articles decide where to submit their manuscripts for peer review and eventual publication, they often base their choice of journals on very incomplete information about how well the journals serve the authors’ purposes of informing about their research and advancing their academic careers. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a new method for benchmarking scientific journals, thereby providing more information to prospective authors. The method estimates a number of journal parameters, including readership, scientific prestige, time from submission to publication, acceptance rate and service provided by the journal during the review and publication process. Data directly obtainable from the Web, data that can be calculated from such data, data obtained from publishers and editors, and data obtained using surveys with authors are used in the method, which has been tested on three different sets of journals, each from a different discipline. We found a number of problems with the different data acquisition methods, which limit the extent to which the method can be used. Publishers and editors are reluctant to disclose important information they have at hand (i.e., journal circulation, Web downloads, acceptance rate). The calculation of some important parameters (for instance, average time from submission to publication, regional spread of authorship) can be done but requires quite a lot of work. It can be difficult to get reasonable response rates to surveys with authors. All in all, we believe that the method we propose, taking a “service to authors” perspective as a basis for benchmarking scientific journals, is useful and can provide information that is valuable to prospective authors in selected scientific disciplines.