What is the threshold for open access Nirvana?

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Wed Jan 14 14:26:38 EST 2004

On Wed, 14 Jan 2004, Garfield, Eugene wrote:

> I think you have introduced a significant distortion to the discussion
> by quoting the figure of 24,000 scientific journals...
> A more realistic figure for journals would be ten to fifteen thousand
> scientific journals putting aside the crucial question of definition.

The 24,000 figure comes from Ulrich's/Bowkers
and it is not for *scientific* journals only but for all
*peer-reviewed* journals. Open access is not just for scientific
research, but for scholarly research as well.

> Since it has been demonstrated that on line access improves both readership
> and citation impact we can certainly expect that the vast majority of the
> low impact journals would be well advised to make their journals open
> access. Whether this increases their impact remains to be seen, but
> increased readership or attention seems inevitable.  

There are also data showing that download impact is strongly correlated
with later citation impact.

    Hitchcock, Steve, Tim Brody, Christopher Gutteridge, Les Carr,
    Wendy Hall, Stevan Harnad, Donna Bergmark, Carl Lagoze, Open Citation
    Linking: The Way Forward. D-Lib Magazine. Volume 8 Number 10. October
    2002.  http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october02/hitchcock/10hitchcock.html

    Hitchcock, Steve; Woukeu, Arouna; Brody, Tim; Carr, Les; Hall,
    Wendy and Harnad, Stevan. (2003) Evaluating Citebase, an open
    access Web-based citation-ranked search and impact discovery service

More data on the causal connection between access and impact are being
collected and analyzed. It is hoped that these data will be sufficient
to persuade all researchers (not just scientists!) as well as their
institutions and funders that open-acess provision is optimal for
research -- and that it can be done immediately.

     Harnad, S., Carr, L., Brody, T. & Oppenheim, C. (2003)
     Mandated online RAE CVs Linked to University Eprint Archives:
     Improving the UK Research Assessment Exercise whilst
     making it cheaper and easier. Ariadne 35 (April 2003).

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at the American Scientist Open Access Forum:
        To join the Forum: 
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Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.

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