Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dramatic Growth of Open Access: 2007 (Interim) and Predictions for 2008

This is an early, interim report on the dramatic growth of open access for 2007, dated December 11, 2007. DOAJ 3,000 journals announcement added Dec. 12. Congratulations, DOAJ!!

All data are presented as partial, rather than extrapolating estimates, as the partial data is more than sufficient to demonstrate that 2007 was a very, very good year for open access. OA advocates and implementers can feel free to catch up on their rest for the remainder of the year; we will all need our energy for 2008. This is because, in brief, we now have sufficient capacity and open access resources to create momentum in 2008. There are more than 3,000 fully open access journals, with new titles being added to DOAJ at a rate of more than 1.4 per day (late in the year, this has soared to more than 3 titles per calendar day, but it is too soon to draw any conclusions); more than 1,000 repositories, and at least 17 million items that are already OA. People will begin to notice, and when they do, they will see the benefits, and seek OA for their own works.

Before we turn to growth, let us review what I see as the top story of 2007: how much open access there already is. Lots!!

Open Access Publishing
There are already more journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals than in the holdings of the world's largest commercial scholarly publisher. There are more non-embargoed, scholarly journals in DOAJ than in the largest of the aggregated packages purchased by libraries.

Some brief and approximate figures (non-embargoed, fulltext, peer-reviewed journals):
DOAJ: 3,000 journals
Science Direct: 2,000 journals
EBSCO Academic Search Complete / Gale Cengage Academic OneFile: 1,700 journals
For full details, see my blogpost, Directory of Open Access Journals: Already the Biggest of the Big Deals?

Open Access Archiving

Growth Rates
DOAJ continued to grow at a steady rate, adding 484 journals so far this year. This makes for a fairly steady growth rate of approximately 1.4 new titles per calendar day, over the past two years. In December, DOAJ has shown remarkable growth, with 101 new titles added in the last 30 days, for an incredible growth rate of 3.4 titles per calendar day. This rate partially reflects the entry of new open publisher Bentham Open; so, while it is suggestive of an accelerating growth rate, it is not possible to draw any firm conclusions at this time.

OAIster added more than 4.4 million records this year, for a very healthy growth rate of 44%. OAIster currently numbers 14.3 million items. Scientific Commons added more than half a million items, and close to a quarter of a million authors, this quarter alone!

The numbers may not be as large, but the story of the local institutional repository may be the growth story of the year. In 2007, an archive browse of the CARL Metadata Harvester jumped from 12 to 17 repositories, a 42% jump. The number of items added in the last (incomplete) quarter of 2007, 4,270, was more than were added in the whole of 2006.

Which brings us to my predictions for 2008.

Open access now has significant capacity. There are more than 3,000 fully open access journals, at least 10% of the world's estimated 20-25,000 peer-reviewed journals, and more are being added at a rate of at least 1.4 per calendar day. DOAJ will list about 15% of the world's peer-reviewed journals by the end of 2008. There are more than 1,000 open access repositories. We have software to create institutional repositories and open access journals, and the knowledge to implement. There are more than 40 open access policies by funding agencies and universities, and more to come. Many librarians and faculty have, or are developing, expertise in the area of scholarly communications. Many publishers have been pondering open access for some time, not to mention experimenting with providing free access to back issues, hybrid open access, as so forth.

Now that we have the capacity and understanding, we will begin to make good use of it.

In open access publishing, the initiative to watch will be SCOAP3, an attempt to flip the entire High Energy Physics publishing to a fully open access model.

In institutional repositories, the stories will be many. At the beginning of the institutional repository movement, every repository faced a chicken and egg situation. How to demonstrate the value of an IR, without any content? How to attract content, when one cannot demonstrate the value of an IR? As repositories begin to fill, there will be more and more good examples of repositories, which will drive desires for IRs. Growth in open access repositories has been dramatic in 2007, and I anticipate that it will be even more so in 2008.

For full data, see the 2007 Interim Dramatic Growth of Open Access.

For another view of what might happen in 2008, see Peter Suber's December Open Access Newsletter

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series.