[Journal-notes] Re: OA Impact Advantage = EA + (AA) + (QB) + QA + (CA) + UA

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Sep 30 23:36:06 EST 2005


On Fri, 30 Sep 2005, Mcsean, Tony (ELS) wrote:

> Another complication in trying to arrive at a like-for-like
> comparison is which of their articles authors choose to self-archive.
> Maybe I'm just a cynical old git, but would be surprising to me if authors
> weren't at least slightly more likely to self-archive their best work and
> less likely to be bothered with their more humdrum output.  You might
> expect these to be more heavily cited however they were made available.

Not cynical at all. There *are* indications of a self-selection Quality
Bias (QB) on the part of authors, towards preferentially self-archiving
their better articles (as well as for the better authors to self-archive
their articles). (It would be quite surprising if there were not.) As
I think I mentioned before, Michael Kurtz has written about this in
astrophysics.  (See Steve Hitchcock's bibliography for
references: http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html ).

However, QB is not the only factor in the OA citation advantage (and,
I'll bet, not the biggest one):

   "OA Impact Advantage = EA + (AA) + (QB) + QA + (CA) + UA"
   http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/2005/09/17/C1.html

What will of course sort out the relative size of the components that
contribute to the current 50%-250% self-archiving advantage will be the
very process of moving upward from the current c. 15% self-archiving rate
to 100%. 

    http://www.crsc.uqam.ca/lab/chawki/graphes/EtudeImpact.htm

(It can't be QB as we get closer to 100%. as most work cannot, by
definition, be best work!) We already know (again from Michael Kurtz's
work in astrophysics) that at 100% OA there is still the Usage Advantage
(3 times as many downloads) and the Early Advantage (a permanent increase
in total citations, the early the paper is made OA).

Michael also reports that in a 100% OA literature, reference lists
are not longer (in fact, they are even a bit shorter!). But what 100%
OA does provide is is QA, the Quality Advantage, levelling the field,
so that authors can select the best and most relevant articles to use
and cite, rather than merely the best and most relevant *amongst the
ones that happen to be published in the fraction of the total number of
journals that their institutions happens to be able to afford*.

That last bit, in a nutshell, is the real essence of OA: Allowing work to
achieve its rightful impact on the strength of its quality/merit alone,
not constrained by the extraneous factor of accessibility/affordability.

Stevan Harnad

On Fri, 30 Sep 2005, Mcsean, Tony (ELS) wrote:

> I'd just like to add a footnote to Phil's characteristically thoughtful
> comments.  Another complication in trying to arrive at a like-for-like
> comparison is which of their articles authors choose to self-archive.  
> Maybe I'm just a cynical old git, but would be surprising to me if authors
> weren't at least slightly more likely to self-archive their best work and
> less likely to be bothered with their more humdrum output.  You might
> expect these to be more heavily cited however they were made available.
> 
> It's a bit embarrasing to be contributing yet another anecdotal/unproven
> hypothesis to the list, but in my own defence I can say that I'm not
> saying (a) that this definitely happens, (b) it's impossible to quantify
> for the purposes of analysis or (c) that if it does happen you can't come
> up with a methodology to compensate.  I'm just saying it's a factor that
> needs looking at and to me it doesn't look easy to fathom and that the
> various conclusions we currently have to hand may be interesting but are
> not even close to definitive.
> 
> Tony McSeán
> Director of Library Relations
> Elsevier
> +44 7795 960516
> +44 1865 843630
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> [mailto:owner-liblicense-l at lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Phil Davis
> Sent: 30 September 2005 02:18
> To: liblicense-l at lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Re: Open access to research worth A3 1.5bn a year
> 
> I just read the JEP article (referred to by Peter Banks) comparing
> articles printed in Pediatrics with other articles only appearing in the
> online addition.  The authors' main findings suggest that despite wider
> potential audience for articles published freely online, articles
> appearing in print received more citations:
> 
> "The difference between the mean citation levels for print and online was
> 3.09 ±0.93 in favor of print (95% CI), meaning that an online article
> could expect to receive 2.16 to 4.02 fewer citations in the literature
> than if it had been printed."
> 
> Or in other words, their data do not support the hypothesis that full OA
> journals receive more citations than non-full OA journals.
> 
> Yet it is methodologically difficult to rigorously test this hypothesis,
> and the use of inferential statistics in this study suggests that they are
> trying to generalize beyond their own journal.  In this study, the authors
> compared two different sets of articles: 1) those that were selected for
> inclusion in the main journal, and 2) those that were not.  Selection bias
> alone may explain the different results, or at least interject a large
> enough bias where the results may not accurately reflect their research
> question.  In other words, it would be difficult to understand whether
> their results are a reflection of accessibility, or selection bias.
> 
> Still, this article fails to support the unstated hypothesis that full OA
> journal articles receive more citations than non-full OA journal articles.  
> For that conclusion alone, we would be wise to stay with the null
> hypothesis (that is, no significant difference) unless we start seeing
> compelling evidence the other way.
> 
> The other conclusion that we may come to is that it may be impossible to
> come up with universal statements about Open Access publishing (i.e. it
> can provide 50 - 25% more citations).  Methodology problems in designing
> rigorous studies may only permit us to make anecdotal statements about
> particular journals or publishing models that have very narrow parameters
> for generalization.
> 
> --Phil Davis
> 
> 




More information about the Jrnlnote mailing list