Re: Open Access to Research worth $1.5bn

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 21:24:52 EDT

On Wed, 28 Sep 2005, Peter Banks wrote:

> I did find one peer-reviewed study on the impact of open access
> on citation rate: "Publishing Online-Only Peer-Reviewed Biomedical
> Literature: Three Years of Citation, Author Perception, and Usage
> Experience," by Kent Anderson and his colleagues.
> It is a study of online-only vs. print articles in the journal
> Pediatrics. It does not find the same citation advantage for online
> publications claimed by Harnad and his colleagues.
> See

Please weigh findings against the preponderance of evidence. The
comparison you are citing is for one journal only, and in one 3-year range
only. Our data are for all ISI journals, across disciplines, across a
12-year range. The selection criterion (both by the author and by the
journal (for the online-only publishing versus print) in that particular
journal in that particular study are not at all the same as the
self-selected decision on the part of authors to self-archive.

I suggest, again, that Peter look at the bibliography below , and not only
at one study congenial to his own preferred outcome. I am afraid he will
not find much hope for his own preferred outcome there. Maximising online
access to one's own articles by self-archiving them does not reduce their
usage, it increases it, dramatically, and with virtually no exception
(apart from occasional chance fluctuation, usually because of small sample
size). That is not only the consistent outcome, both for the already
peer-reviewed findings and the not yet-refereed ones, but it is also
exactly what logic would dictate: that access is a necessary (if not a
sifficient) precondition for usage.

Stevan Harnad

PS (Note also the difference between studies comparing OA and non-OA
journals, which are apples and oranges, with comparing articles within the
same journal/year, differing only in whether or not the author has elected
to self-archive.)
Received on Fri Sep 30 2005 - 06:11:06 BST

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