Open Access: An Evaluation of its Impact, Obstacles, and Advancements

Author: Rachel A. Miles

Comments: A detailed article providing reviews on OA and Impact Metrics, and discussions on their misconceptions and misunderstandings. A review on OA mandates and policies is also provided. Other interesting discussions include those on Altmetrics, Eigenfactor, SNIP, JOI. An extensive list of potentially useful references are given.

Abstract: Access to research results is imperative in today’s robust digital age, yet access is often prevented by publisher paywalls. Open Access (OA) is the simple idea that all research should be free for all to access, use, and build upon. This paper will focus on three critical areas of the OA landscape: its impact on scholarship and the public, the obstacles to be overcome, and its advancements. The impact of OA actions and initiatives has been difficult to quantify, but the growing number of studies on OA have shown mostly overwhelmingly positive results. Cultural norms within academia, such as the reliance on the journal Impact Factor (IF) to assess the quality of individual research articles, have impeded the progress of OA. Conversely, federal mandates and institutional policies have supported the OA movement by requiring that scholarly publications be deposited into institutional or subject repositories immediately following publication. As information professionals, library and information science (LIS) professionals have a responsibility as practitioners, authors, and editors to support OA and encourage other academics to do the same.

Cite as: Miles, Rachel. (2016). Open Access: An Evaluation of its Impact, Obstacles, and Advancements. Bibliotekar, 58: (1-2).

Source: Open Access: An Evaulation of its Impact, Obstacles, and Advancements

Evaluation of Openness in the Activities of Research Organisations and Research Funding Organisations in 2016

Author: finland Ministry of Education and Culture, Open Science and Research Initiative

Notes: Interesting scoring of Finnish research organisations regarding progress towards openness using data retrieved from public websites. A follow up survey gave organisations the opportunity to correct and supplement data. Also compared with other European research organisations. Because of the rapidly changing landscape the assessment was not repeated in 2017.

Abstract: This evaluation of the openness of Finnish research performing and funding organisations was completed as part of the Open Science and Research Initiative (ATT) by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The target of this evaluation is to assess the openness of operational cultures in research organisations and research funding organisations. The key objectives, against which the assessments are made, are defined in the Open Science and Research Roadmap. More information about the evaluation can be found at

Publications | Free Full-Text | Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services | HTML

Authors: David Walters and Christopher Daley (Brunel University, London)

Notes: An interesting article looking at integrating data sources to assess OA status and location of OA copies for single UK university. Focusses on data derived from CORE and from Unpaywall and its combination with other information from university systems.

Abstract: The UK open access (OA) policy landscape simultaneously preferences Gold publishing models (Finch Report, RCUK, COAF) and Green OA through repository usage (HEFCE), creating the possibility of confusion and duplication of effort for academics and support staff. Alongside these policy developments, there has been an increase in open science services that aim to provide global data on OA. These services often exist separately to locally managed institutional systems for recording OA engagement and policy compliance. The aim of this study is to enhance Brunel University London’s local publication data using software which retrieves and processes information from the global open science services of Sherpa REF, CORE, and Unpaywall. The study draws on two classification schemes; a ‘best location’ hierarchy, which enables us to measure publishing trends and whether open access dissemination has taken place, and a relational ‘all locations’ dataset to examine whether individual publications appear across multiple OA dissemination models. Sherpa REF data is also used to indicate possible OA locations from serial policies. Our results find that there is an average of 4.767 permissible open access options available to the authors in our sample each time they publish and that Gold OA publications are replicated, on average, in 3 separate locations. A total of 40% of OA works in the sample are available in both Gold and Green locations. The study considers whether this tendency for duplication is a result of localised manual workflows which are necessarily focused on institutional compliance to meet the Research Excellence Framework 2021 requirements, and suggests that greater interoperability between OA systems and services would facilitate a more efficient transformation to open scholarship.

Source: Publications | Free Full-Text | Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services | HTML

Over 80% of research outputs meet requirements of REF 2021 open access policy – Research England

Author: Research England (neé HEFCE)

Notes: An important national survey of progress towards Open Access in the context of a strong policy and compliance requirement. Interesting both for the claims it makes about the levels of OA as well as the language and nature of the process by which it is being achieved. Lots of important detail on how metadata is and is not being collected an processed.

Abstract: Sixty one per cent of research outputs known to be in scope for the REF 2021 are meeting open access deposit, discovery and access requirements, with a further twenty per cent reporting a known exception, a report published today shows.The report details the findings of a survey by the former Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Wellcome Trust, the former Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Jisc. The survey sought to assess how the sector is delivering funders’ open access (OA) policies and to understand some of the challenges the sector faces. The four project partners were also interested in understanding the methods and tools being used across the sector to ensure policy compliance.

Source: Over 80% of research outputs meet requirements of REF 2021 open access policy – Research England

It’s Time to Make Your Data Count!

Author: Daniella Lowenburg

Notes: The Making Data Count project is a Sloan funded effort to develop standardised metrics for data usage across data repositories. It represents the most general effort to track usage for generic research data to date. Here they report progress within two repositories (California Digital Library and DataONE) and are seeking to get engagement from other repositories to expand the program.

Summary: One year into our Sloan funded Make Data Count project, we are proud to release Version 1 of standardized data usage and citation metrics!

As a community that values research data it is important for us to have a standard and fair way to compare metrics for data sharing. We know of and are involved in a variety of initiatives around data citation infrastructure and best practices; including Scholix, Crossref and DataCite Event Data. But, data usage metrics are tricky and before now there had not been a group focused on processes for evaluating and standardizing data usage. Last June, members from the MDC team and COUNTER began talking through what a recommended standard could look like for research data.

Since the development of our COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data we have implemented comparable, standardized data usage and citation metrics at Dash (CDL) and DataONE.

Source: It’s Time to Make Your Data Count!

The Landscape of Research Data Repositories in 2015: A re3data Analysis

TiTle: The Landscape of Research Data Repositories in 2015: A re3data Analysis

Authors: Maxi Kindling et al

Summary: Analysis of data repositories in re3data shows a range of access, software, APIs, PIDs used as well as content, owners and countries. Limited standard compliance was noted.

re3data now provides much of this info on its metrics page

D-Lib Magazine March/April 2017
Volume 23, Number 3/4


This article provides a comprehensive descriptive and statistical analysis of metadata information on 1,381 research data repositories worldwide and across all research disciplines. The analyzed metadata is derived from the re3data database, enabling search and browse functionalities for the global registry of research data repositories. The analysis focuses mainly on institutions that operate research data repositories, types and subjects of research data repositories (RDR), access conditions as well as services provided by the research data repositories. RDR differ in terms of the service levels they offer, languages they support or standards they comply with. These statements are commonly acknowledged by saying the RDR landscape is heterogeneous. As expected, we found a heterogeneous RDR landscape that is mostly influenced by the repositories’ disciplinary background for which they offer services.

Keywords: Research Data Repositories, RDR, Statistical Analysis, Metadata, re3data, Open Science, Open Access, Research Data, Persistent Identifier, Digital Object Identifier, Licenses

Source: The Landscape of Research Data Repositories in 2015: A re3data Analysis

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 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