Scholarly publications beyond pay-walls: increased citation advantage for open publishing

Author: Susanne Mikki

Comments: This article suggests clear citation advantage for OA publishing, though the analysis was restricted to scholarly articles and ignored the legal status of full-texts.

Abstract: First, we aim to determine the total amount of scholarly articles freely available on the internet. Second, we aim to prove whether there exists a citation advantage for open publishing. The total scholarly publication output of Norway is indexed in Cristin, the Current Information System in Norway. Based on these data, we searched Google Scholar by either DOIs or titles and denoted a document as open available (OAv), when a link to a full-text was provided. We analysed the extracted data by publishing year, citations, availability and provider. Based on additional information indexed in Cristin, we furthermore analysed the data by year, institution, publisher and discipline. We find that the total share of freely available articles is 68%. Articles not available belong to prestigious publishers such as Elsevier, Springer, Routledge and Universitetsforlaget (the largest Norwegian academic publisher), which may be particularly essential for scholars worldwide. The largest provider, according to Google Scholar’s main link provision, is ResearchGate. In addition, institutional repositories play a major role in posting free article versions. Articles belonging to natural sciences and technology, and medicine and health were more likely to be open than articles belonging to the social sciences and humanities. Their respective OAv-shares are 72, 58 and 55%. We find a clear citation advantage for open publishing; on average, these documents received twice as many citations, indicating that open access is the future in publishing. This study is limited to scholarly articles only. Books and book chapters, which are usual publication formats for the humanities and social sciences, are excluded. Results do therefore not adequately reflect the situation for these disciplines. Furthermore, this study is limited to documents freely available on the internet, independent of the “legal” status of the posted full-text. With the data at hand, we were not able to distinguish between gold, green, hybrid, purely pay-walled and illicitly posted documents. Usually, articles indexed in Web of Science or SCOPUS are objects of investigation. However, these databases do not sufficiently cover the humanities and social sciences, and therefore cannot be representative of the total scholarly article output. This study captures the total article output of a country, independent on discipline and provides new insight into open publishing.

Mikki, S. (2017) Scholarly publications beyond pay-walls: increased citation advantage for open publishing. Scientometrics, 113(3): 1529-1538.

Source: Scholarly publications beyond pay-walls: increased citation advantage for open publishing | Springer for Research & Development

Imagining a Gold Open Access Future: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Funding Scenarios among Authors of Academic Scholarship

Authors: Carol Tenopir, Elizabeth D. Dalton, Lisa Christian, Misty K. Jones, Mark McCabe, MacKenzie Smith, Allison Fish

Comments: A survey on attitudes towards gold OA. The six main takeaways identified in the article were: 1. The prevailing attitude toward open access is often ambivalence. 2. Faculty are often conservative in their acceptance of OA. 3. Applied STEM fields are more accepting of OA. 4. Willingness to pay varies by source of funding. 5. Ambivalence provides a teachable moment for libraries. 6. Funding for APCs can be crucial for libraries.

Abstract: The viability of gold open access publishing models into the future will depend, in part, on the attitudes of authors toward open access (OA). In a survey of academics at four major research universities in North America, we examine academic authors’ opinions and behaviors toward gold OA. The study allows us to see what academics know and perceive about open access models, their current behavior in regard to publishing in OA, and possible future behavior. In particular, we gauge current attitudes to examine the perceived likelihood of various outcomes in an all-open access publishing scenario. We also survey how much authors at these types of universities would be willing to pay for article processing charges (APCs) from different sources. Although the loudest voices may often be heard, in reality there is a wide range of attitudes and behaviors toward publishing. Understanding the range of perceptions, opinions, and behaviors among academics toward gold OA is important for academic librarians who must examine how OA serves their research communities, to prepare for an OA future, and to understand how OA impacts the library’s role.

Tenopir et al. (2017) Imagining a Gold Open Access Future: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Funding Scenarios among Authors of Academic Scholarship. College & Research Libraries 78(6): 824-843.

Source: Imagining a Gold Open Access Future: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Funding Scenarios among Authors of Academic Scholarship | Tenopir | College & Research Libraries

Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education

Author: Erin C. McKiernan

Comment: An interesting article in which describes the author’s idea of an open university and suggests practices/interventions for it.

Abstract: Open scholarship, such as the sharing of articles, code, data, and educational resources, has the potential to improve university research and education as well as increase the impact universities can have beyond their own walls. To support this perspective, I present evidence from case studies, published literature, and personal experiences as a practicing open scholar. I describe some of the challenges inherent to practicing open scholarship and some of the tensions created by incompatibilities between institutional policies and personal practice. To address this, I propose several concrete actions universities could take to support open scholarship and outline ways in which such initiatives could benefit the public as well as institutions. Importantly, I do not think most of these actions would require new funding but rather a redistribution of existing funds and a rewriting of internal policies to better align with university missions of knowledge dissemination and societal impact.

McKiernan, EC (2017) Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education. PLoS Biol 15(10): e1002614.

Source: Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education

Open Science and its role in universities: a roadmap for cultural change | LERU


  • Paul Ayris (University College London)
  • Alea López de San Román (LERU Office)
  • Katrien Maes (LERU Office)
  • Ignasi Labastida (University of Barcelona)

Notes: The League of European Research Universities (LERU) provides and advice paper on the move towards Open Science/Open Scholarship in Europe. Emphasises coordinated action and culture change, including a check list for universities to address in the seven areas for change that the paper identifies.

Summary: Open Science opens up new ways in which research/education/innovation are undertaken, archived and curated, and disseminated across the globe. Open Science is not about dogma per se; it is about greater efficiency and productivity, more transparency and a better response to interdisciplinary research needs. The LERU universities are convinced Open Science brings new and exciting opportunities for the scholarly community and for how academics interact with society. They also  realise, however, that this transition will not be straightforward to deliver. There are challenges that lie ahead. For universities and other stakeholders to embrace Open Science principles, policies and practices, there needs to be a culture change in these organisations if this transition is to be successfully negotiated.

This paper discusses the eight pillars of Open Science identified by the European Commission (the future of scholarly publishing, FAIR data, the European Open Science Cloud, education and skills, rewards and incentives, next-generation metrics, research integrity, and citizen science), analyses what the introduction of Open Science approaches means at university level in each of these eight themed areas and identifies possible benefits and challenges. For each of the eight Open Science areas, recommendations about what universities can do are formulated. Evidently, they imply a broader supportive environment and productive interactions with external stakeholders, too. Next to the recommendations in these eight areas, the paper offers some high level conclusions and recommendations to transition at the institutional level and provides a set of questions which universities can use to measure their progress in implementing Open Science approaches institutionally.

The LERU universities fully acknowledge that Open Science represents a complex and multi-dimensional process of transition, different for every university. The 41 recommendations in this LERU paper do not represent a prioritisation of topics, nor an exhaustive list of actions to be taken by universities. They, and the paper as a whole, are intended to serve as a roadmap to accompany universities´ efforts towards Open Science, leaving room for each institution to carve out its own path, strategy and actions.

Ayris, Paul, Alea López de San Román, Katrien Maes, and Ignasi Labastida. 2018. “Open Science and Its Role in Universities: A Roadmap for Cultural Change | LERU.” Organisation. LERU. May 2018.

Source: Open Science and its role in universities: a roadmap for cultural change | LERU

Integrated advice of the Open Science Policy Platform on 8 prioritised Open Science ambitions

Author: EU Open Science Policy Platform

Notes: The integrated recommendations of the main European expert policy group on Open Science. Includes a focus on rewards and incentives but primarily at the individual level. Amongst the release documents associated with this is a reference to a Norwegian proposal to kitemark universities based on their open science performance.

Summary: The Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) adopted on the 22nd of April 2018 a set of prioritised actionable recommendations concerning the eight Open Science ambitions of Commissioner Moedas. These recommendations constitute an integrated advice on all Open Science ambitions of Commissioner Moedas.

These actionable recommendations from the OSPP are the next step towards the longer-term vision articulated by Open Science consultations and expert groups set up by the EC and other organisations in Europe and worldwide. The recommendations have been split up into the eight priorities identified from the European Open Science Agenda , namely:

  • Rewards and Incentives
  • Research Indicators and Next-Generation Metrics
  • Future of Scholarly Communication
  • European Open Science Cloud
  • FAIR Data
  • Research Integrity
  • Skills and Education
  • Citizen Science

Source: Integrated advice of the Open Science Policy Platform on 8 prioritised Open Science ambitions

Think civic! Five ideas for universities

Author: Alex Miles is Deputy Director of Communications, Advocacy & Global Affairs at the University of Nottingham.

Notes: Framing of the idea of the civic role of universities in the context of  the UK obsession with Excellence Frameworks. Plays with the idea of a “Civic Excellence Framework” including many aspects of cultural engagement with communities, quality of staff experience, and salary levels.

Snippet: The public value and civic role of universities have, over the last 18 months, become a major topic of debate.

This national conversation has emerged in response to pressure from three sources. The first is societal pressure on the purpose and utility of universities. The second is internal pressure – illustrated by pay and pension disputes – but underpinned by longer-term unease about marketisation and reforms of higher education. The third pressure, exerted by politicians and regulators who detect that universities are losing the consent of the public to continue to operate – with independence – in the manner we have been.

Source: Think civic! Five ideas for universities

How global university rankings are changing higher education – Degrees of success

Author: The Economist

Notes: Up to date critical general interest article from The Economist on rankings with an emphasis on the ARWU/Shanghai ranking including some history and background as well as a discussion of the issues that rankings are causing.

Snippet: They favour research over teaching and the sciences over the arts[…] EARLIER this month Peking University played host to perhaps the grandest global gathering ever of the higher-education business. Senior figures from the world’s most famous universities—Harvard and Yale, Oxford and Cambridge among them—enjoyed or endured a two-hour opening ceremony followed by a packed programme of mandatory cultural events interspersed with speeches lauding “Xi Jinping thought”. The party was thrown to celebrate Peking University’s 120th birthday—and, less explicitly, China’s success in a race that started 20 years ago.

The Economist. 2018. “How Global University Rankings Are Changing Higher Education,” May 19, 2018.

Source: How global university rankings are changing higher education – Degrees of success

Filling in missing data: books

Author: Christina Pikas
Notes: Christina is an experienced information services librarian trying to get a set of information for a project. Here she encounters the “book problem” i.e. no central index that is usable and resorts to data from Harvard. This is probably a strong recommendation for using it as a source.

Snippet: Current project I’m obsessing on (it’s actually really cool and interesting and fun) spans political science, history, philosophy, and even some sociology and criminal justice. So I played all my reindeer games on the journal articles, but when it comes to analyzing the abstracts, a lot were missing. I wanted to ignore these, but they were whole collections from extremely relevant journals and also nearly all of the books. The journals I filled in what i could from Microsoft Academic (no endorsement intended).

Books though…

Source: Filling in missing data: books – Christina’s LIS Rant

Open access in ethics research: an analysis of open access availability and author self-archiving behaviour in light of journal copyright restrictions | SpringerLink

Authors: Mikael Laakso and Andrea Polonioli

Summary: Examines OA status in the field of ethics. Starts by determining a set of researchers, then a set of articles then determining OA status by Google Scholar. Makes it challenging to scale. Good analysis of the different forms of OA being used here and the complexities that creates.

Abstract: The current state of open access to journal publications within research areas belonging to the humanities has received relatively little research attention. This study provides a detailed mapping of the bibliometric state of open access to journal publications among ethicists, taking into account not only open access publishing in journals directly, but also where and in what form ethicists make their journal articles available elsewhere on the web. As part of the study 297 ethicists affiliated with top-ranking philosophy departments were identified and their journal publication information for the years 2010–2015 were recorded (1682 unique articles). The journal articles were then queried for through Google Scholar in order to establish open access status (web locations, document versions) of each publication record. Publication records belonging to the 20 most frequently used journal outlets (subset of 597 unique articles) were put under closer inspection with regards to alignment with publisher copyright restrictions as well as measuring unused potential to share articles. The results show that slightly over half of recent journal publications are available to read for free. PhilPapers and academic social networks ( and ResearchGate) were found to be key platforms for research dissemination in ethics research. The representation of institutional repositories as providers of access was found to be weak, receiving the second lowest frequency rating among the eight discrete web location categories. Further, the study reveals that ethicists are at the same time prone to copyright infringement and undersharing their scholarly work.

Laakso, Mikael, and Andrea Polonioli. 2018. “Open Access in Ethics Research: An Analysis of Open Access Availability and Author Self-Archiving Behaviour in Light of Journal Copyright Restrictions.” Scientometrics, April, 1–27.

Source: Open access in ethics research: an analysis of open access availability and author self-archiving behaviour in light of journal copyright restrictions | SpringerLink

UK university policy approaches towards the copyright ownership of scholarly works and the future of open access | Aslib Journal of Information Management | Vol 69, No 1

Author: Elizabeth Gadd

Undertook survey of 81 UK academic or HEI library copyright policies to analyse extent of  institutional adoption of joint copyright ownership. Used Google search to locate policies on websites, downloaded and analysed manually into four key concepts, by “mission” grouping or category of HEIs and date of policies.. Universities have not yet  addressed ownership rights with academics, leaving them to negotiate with publishers. Universities have instead implemented open access policies and research funders have  set mandates. Identifies a “disconnect” between copyright policies and open access practice.
The purpose of this paper is to consider how the open access policy environment has developed since the Rights Metadata for Open Archiving Project’s call in 2003 for universities and academics to assert joint copyright ownership of scholarly works and investigate whether UK universities are moving towards a joint copyright ownership. Design/methodology/approach The paper analyses 81 UK university copyright policies to understand what proportion make a claim over: IP ownership of all outputs; the copyright in scholarly works; re-using scholarly works in specific ways; and approaches to moral rights. Results are cross-tabulated by policy age and mission group. Findings Universities have not asserted their interest in scholarly works through joint ownership, leaving research funders and publishers to set open access policy. The paper finds an increased proportion of universities assert a generic claim to all IP (87 per cent) relative to earlier studies. In total, 74 per cent of policies relinquished rights in scholarly works in favour of academic staff; 20 per cent of policies share ownership of scholarly works through licensing; 28 per cent of policies assert the right to re-use scholarly works in some way; and 32 per cent of policies seek to protect moral rights. Policies that “share” ownership of scholarly works are more recent. The UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) should have an impact on this area. The reliance on individual academics to enforce a copyright policy or not to opt-out of the UK-SCL could be problematic. The paper concludes that open access may still be best served by joint ownership of scholarly works. Originality/value This the first large-scale analysis of UK university policy positions towards scholarly works. The paper discovers for the first time a move towards “shared” ownership of scholarly works in copyright policies.

Source: UK university policy approaches towards the copyright ownership of scholarly works and the future of open access | Aslib Journal of Information Management | Vol 69, No 1