As further evidence of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access, following is an update on some of the figures presented in my peer-reviewed preprint, written early February 2005. In brief, the Directory of Open Access Journals continues to add new open access journals to its list at an average rate of about one title per day. OAIster figures suggest growth in both repositories, and articles contained therein. Highwire Free figures indicate that a related trend, free back issues, is having a noticeable impact as well.
In the author's opinion, there is no authoritative information available on the exact numbers of either open access journals or open access articles at the present time. These, or any other figures, can be interpreted at best as general and somewhat indirect indications of the extent of open access. The author concludes that there is sufficient evidence to prove that there is dramatic growth in open access, even though the precise figures have not been determined at this point in time.
The author cautions that, while is sufficient data to illustrate a dramatic growth in open access, strongly suggesting a very strong interest amongst academics in making their own work openly accessible, the vast majority of peer-reviewed articles still are not openly accessible.
In the author's opinion, it is not necessary or desirable to invest much time in determining precise figures at this point in time. That is, open access is at a stage where a great many academics, research funders, journal publishers, and others, are considering policies, economic models, and new means of publishing. The important question is not how much open access there is, but rather how to implement open access.
Following are the data as presented in the original article, gathered in early February 2005, and current data as of August 19, 2005. Some of the factors which make it impossible to extrapolate precise figures are listed below each section:
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Early February 2005:
August 19, 2005:
Note: journals are listed in DOAJ after they are discovered, and have passed a vetting process meant to ensure that all titles are fully open access, and peer reviewed.
Some factors to consider when interpreting DOAJ figures:
Factors to consider in interpreting OAIster data
OAIster includes all data and institutions using the Open Archives Initiative protocol. OAI is a standard designed to facilitate metadata harvesting that is frequently, but not necessarily, associated with open access scholarly articles.
Country Update on Institutional Repositories
Detailed information on institutional repositories, articles, and other information, from 13 countries. Illustrates the international nature of the IR movement. Provides data that will likely be useful in determining OA growth in the future.
This paragraph added August 22, 2005. Thanks to the SPARC OA News written by Peter Suber for the tip.
Free back issues from Highwire Press: not open access, but definitely related:
OA News growth from specific publishers
My apologies to all the other OA publishers not listed here, whose collections are also growing rapidly, such as India's Medknow Publications, not addressed in detail below. The purpose of this update is to illustrate that open access continues to grow dramatically; it is not meant to list all of the important open access initiatives currently underway.
Note: this paragraph added August 22, 2005, based on data supplied by Matt Cockerill at BMC.
As of today, BMC has 139 journals that are fully OA in terms of research, although some journals feature subscriptions for non-research content. Many more journals are in the pipeline. This contrasts with the "over 100" journals I reported in early February. Although I do not have the exact figure at that time, I do not underreport open access journals, so it is likely that this meant "just over 100 journals". My figures from early February for BioMedCentral were from the CUFTS knowledgebase, which may not always equal BMC numbers due to CUFTS updating procedures (usually monthly). As an indication of the likely accuracy of CUFTS figures, the CUFTS journal count for BMC today is 138, as compared to the 139 reported by Matt Cockerill at BMC.
George Porter's OA Journal Announcements
Caltech's George Porter frequently posts updates on new and converted-to-OA journals. You can find these message at the SPARC Open Access Forum Archives. To find the full list, search for George Porter by name, look up his e-mail address and search again. You should find a total of 319 messages (as of August 22), mostly OA journal announcements. Close to 50 of these announcements are dated February 2005 or later. One example is the latest update to the Public Library of Science collection.
African Journals Online Update
Details about the dramatic growth of the African Journals Online project have been published in the INASP Newsletter No. 29: July 2005. Highlights:
Comment: according to the INASP article, this is "slow". Makes you wonder: what does "fast" look like, from an INASP perspective?
Comment: demonstrates - yet again, in another way - the OA impact advantages
This paragraph added August 22, 2005. Thanks to the SPARC OA News, written by Peter Suber, for the tip.
Notes on open peer review
The author's original update was revised, based on helpful comments from a fellow open access advocate. These were presented as comments, rather than peer review, at the request of the person making the comments. While this individual is widely considered to have academic expertise in the area of open access, in the individual's own view, numeric analysis of open access is outside their area of expertise - an area where the individual feels competent to comment, but not peer review. From the author's point of view, these comments were particularly helpful in identifying the need to articulate some of the limitations to be considered in interpreting this data, which were no doubt much more obvious to the author than they would be for many readers.
Note: this post, originally posted August 20, 2005, has been updated August 22, 2005, with new information. Three times. Feb. 26, 2007 - this is now a quarterly series.
This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.