Open access 'boosts citations by a fifth'
Jim Ottaviani, librarian at the University of Michigan,
looked at what happened when his institution made papers available
through its repository and found that “an open access citation advantage
as high as 19 per cent exists”.
found “The Post-Embargo Open Access Citation Advantage: It Exists
(Probably), It’s Modest (Usually), and the Rich Get Richer (of Course)”,
published in Plos One. “When an article benefits from being OA, it benefits a lot,” the paper concludes.
Previous studies that attempted to determine whether an open access
citation advantage exists have been dogged by the difficulty of finding
comparable samples of open-access and subscription-only articles.
For example, it could be that authors select only their best articles
to be made public in an otherwise closed journal by paying an article
processing charge, meaning they get more citations regardless of the
The study got around this problem by looking at the citation rates of
thousands of articles after they had been made public through
Michigan’s repository over the past decade. This meant that Mr Ottaviani
had a relatively random sample of nearly 4,000 open access papers
across a range of otherwise subscription-only journals.
It looked at papers that had been made open access only in a
university repository (so-called green open access). Although these
articles are normally easy to find via search engines, had they been
made open access through their journal (referred to as gold open
access), they might have garnered even more citations, the paper points
Although the paper finds that a citation advantage exists, it is
smaller than in some other studies that have looked at the same
question, and found that open access boosts citations by up to 172 per
SPARC Europe, an organisation made up of European university
libraries and research institutes that campaigns for research openness,
has collated 70 studies that looked at whether open access provides a citation advantage and found that 46 of them did.
That paper concludes by recommending a new study involving a greater
mix of subjects (Mr Ottaviani’s paper looked mainly at physical science,
health science and engineering articles) and more than one university,
which it says would produce even more robust results.
Open access 'boosts citations by a fifth' | THE News