Recent Pre-Print Findings Cast Doubt and Spark Discussion on the Citation Performance of Open Access Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-06

While Green and hybrid Open Access articles have been tentatively found to out-perform paywall-protected articles based on their citation statistics, Gold Open Access articles show lower citation levels than subscription access articles, which could be due to revenue performance differences between respective publishers.


In the United States, since the early 2000s print publications have been witnessing steeply declining advertising revenues, such as from more than 60 billion USD in 2000 to less than inflation-adjusted 20 bullion USD in 2012, after the absolute majority of which have begun to offer Internet-based Open Access to their contents, as the diagram cited by Alexander Gerber in 2013 shows. Given that newspapers have been projected by PricewaterhouseCoopers to deal with further decreases in their overall revenue performance toward the year 2020, apparently despite partial paywalls that some newspapers have introduced, the nature of the interrelationship between Open Access and performance in the publishing industry more generally continues to receive research and industry attention.

Thus, in his Scholarly Kitchen blog post, on October 4, 2017, David Crotty has offered a review of a pre-print, yet to be peer-reviewed article by Heather Piwowar et al. published on August 2, 2017 by PeerJ Preprints, an innovative Open Access repository service that accepts articles for publication without article processing charges or publishing membership fees that PeerJ journals charge upon a streamlined review by its editorial stuff. In the blog post, Crotty has highlighted that free access is not tantamount to Open Access, as defined within the guidelines of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, while drawing attention of its readers to the methodological flaws of the research results presented by Piwowar et al., such as imprecise Open Access categorizations and research population definitions.

By Pablo Markin

The full-length original blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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