Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Dramatic Growth of Open Access

2010 was the strongest year for open access growth so far. In 2010, 1,401 journals were added to DOAJ for a total of 5,936 journals. The Electronic Journals Library now records over 27,000 journals that can be read free of charge; over 3,500 were added in 2010. 1,037 journals actively participate in PubMedCentral, an increase of 313 over the past year, and more than half of these journals contribute all articles as open access. PMC now provides access to over 3.2 million free articles, an increase of over 300,000 this year. OpenDOAR lists 1,817 repositories, having added 257 this year. A Scientific Commons search encompasses 38 million items, an increase of over 6 million since last year. There are 261 open access mandate policies, an increase of 83 this year.

Open access mandate policies showed the strongest growth in percentage terms, with a 90% increase in thesis mandates and a 61% increase in departmental mandates, 47% growth in total mandates, and 41% growth in institutional mandates. For links to full details and charts on OA mandate growth, see this post by Alma Swan. A total of 7 measures showed growth of 40% or better, including DOAJ's journals and articles searchable at article level. 7 measures showed growth of 30% or better, including the number of journals in PMC with immediate free access (37%) and the number of journals in PMC with all articles open access (34%), the number of peer-reviewed journals included in Open J-Gate (36%), and the total number of journals included in Open J-Gate (31%), the number of repositories listed in ROAR (34%), and the number of proposed open access mandates (33%). A further 11 measures were 10% or better, including BASE content providers, RePEC (both total items and items available online), and the number of documents in E-LIS and arXiv.

New this issue: historical data has been added to the full data edition (see the DGOA Dataverse to download), thanks to Tim Gray of Homerton College Library) and the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. The show growth issue focuses on 2010 growth, and includes columns for average daily, weekly, and monthly growth for illustration purposes. New additions include Mendeley and the open data journal policies list at the Open Access Directory (the latter as a first foray into tracking the dramatic growth of open data). A first edition of The Dramatic Growth of Open Access Rationale and Methodology is now available for download from the DGOA Dataverse or for viewing as a Google Doc. For full data that is downloadable as the Dec 31 2010 full data edition or the Dec 31 2010 show growth edition, see the DGOA Dataverse at Harvard; for quick web viewing of the latest data, see the Google Docs Show Growth version. For links to all versions and commentary, see the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series.

This post was updated Jan. 1, 2010, adding links to Alma Swan's post and the services listed below, and on Jan. 2, 2010, adding links to the Polish version created by E-LIS Editor Bożena Bednarek-Michalska, which can be found here and here. Updated again Jan. 4, adding this link to MIT stats showing the popularity of open educational resources.

A Happy New Year to everyone in the open access movement!

The numbers
: open access status and growth in 2010

DOAJ (peer-reviewed, active, open access journals)
  • 5,936 journals (1,401 journals added in 2010, growth rate 4 titles per day) 31% growth
  • 2,494 journals searchable at article level (735 added in 2010, growth rate 2 per day) 42% growth
  • 490,411 articles searchable at article level (154,912 added in 2010, growth rate 424 per day) 46% growth
Open J-Gate
  • 8,105 journals (1,907 added in 2010, growth rate 5 titles per day) 31% growth
  • 4,877 peer-reviewed journals (1,297 added in 2010, growth rate 3.5 titles per day) 36% growth
Electronic Journals Library (journals that can be read free of charge)
  • 27,030 journals (3,591 added in 2010, growth rate 10 titles per day) 15% growth
Open Journal Systems Journals: 7,500 (about 1,500 growth in 2010)

PubMedCentral Journals
  • 1,037 journals actively participating (313 added in 2010, growth rate about 1 title per day) 43% growth
  • 622 journals provide immediate free access (169 more than a year ago) 37% growth
  • 532 journals provide OA to all articles (136 more than a year ago) 34% growth
PubMedCentral Articles
  • 3.2 million articles (314,422 added in 2010) (see PMC Free tab) (11% growth)
  • CIHR-funded articles freely available: 4,464 (new to DGOA)
  • Wellcome Trust funded articles freely available: 27,572 (new to DGOA)
OpenDOAR (vetted list of repositories)
  • 1,817 repositories (259 added in 2010, growth rate about 1 repository per day) 17% growth
Registry of Open Access Repositories
  • 2,090 repositories (533 added in 2010, growth rate about 2 repositories per day) 34% growth

BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)
  • 25.5 million documents (3.5 million added in 2010, growth rate about 10,000 per day) 16% growth
  • 1,727 content providers (323 added in 2010, growth rate about 1 repository per day) 23% growth
  • IS BASE's number counter broken? The numbers have not changed this quarter
Scientific Commons
  • 38 million publications (6 million added in 2010, growth rate about 16,000 per day) 19% growth
  • 1,269 repositories (111 added in 2010) 10% growth
  • IS Scientific Commons' number counter broken? The numbers have not changed this quarter
  • 650,000 thousand documents (70,092 added in 2010, growth rate about 200 per day) 12% growth
  • 860,000 fulltext online (160,000 added in 2010, growth rate over 400 per day) 23% growth
  • 11,420 documents (1,308 added in 2010, growth rate 3.5 documents per day) 13% growth
  • 56 million metadata records; 297,189 articles freely available (new to DGOA)
Open Access Mandate Policies (from ROARMAP)
  • Departmental: 29 (11 added in 2010) 61% growth
  • Funder: 46 (4 added in 2010) 10% growth
  • Institutional: 111 (36 added in 2010) 41% growth
  • Multi-institutional: 1 (1 added in 2010)
  • Thesis: 74 (35 added in 2010) 90% growth
  • Total: 261 (83 added in 2010) 47% growth
  • Proposed mandates: 20 (up 5 from 2010) 33% growth
Open Data Policies: 14 (new to DGOA) (from Open Access Directory journals with open data policies, proposed list)

Highwire Free
  • 2.1 million free articles (161,030 added in 2010) 8% growth
  • 47 completely free sites (1 added in 2010) 2% growth
  • 284 sites with free back issues (1 added in 2010) less than 1% growth
WANTED: macro-level metrics for open data

The open data movement is closely related to the open access movement, and of great interest and use to scholars. It is obvious that there is a lot happening; currently one of my best sources of information is Tracey Lauriault of and fame. As an aside, it is a little ironic that data phenomenon / statistician Tracey is the source par excellence for qualitative information on this matter, whilst I, the critical scholar rather inclined to look with scepticism at purely quantitative research, am apparently the volunteer keeper of the quarterly statistics for the open access movement. Glen Newton points to the 70 online databases that define our planet, from Technology Review, the arXiv physics blog, as further qualitative evidence that there is a lot of quantitative data out there already.

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dramatic Growth of Open Access brief update: chart showing gold growth

Revised and updated Dec. 23, 2010

This chart by Peter Hendrik, President, Springer STM Publishing, from Hendrik's presentation at the 2010 Berlin Open Access Conference in Beijing, (based on information from Thompson-Reuters) predicting possible OA article growth at 20% compared to total article growth of 3.5% by 2020 is well worth noting.

Why is this worth noting? Interesting as this projection is per se, the reason that this is important is because it reflects two players very much from the commercial traditional subscription journal market predicting stronger growth of open access articles than overall article growth. The two players are Springer and Thompson-Reuters. Such predictions are not new, of course; I have been making similar predictions for years. So what is new is not the prediction, but who is making the prediction. To the best of my knowledge, this is new; but if I am wrong, please correct me.

Other interesting aspects of Hendrik's presentation: the fact that a senior Springer Executive is presenting at an open access conference, highlighting what Springer has to offer in this area; a chart showing hybrid OA update by disciplines (not surprisingly, biology and medicine show higher update); a slide on price adjustments for hybrid journals (no figures - if anyone has figures, let me know); a slide (# 13) on gold OA growth - selected details:

From Hendrik's slide 13 - 'Gold' Open Access is growing fast
  • approx. 4% of ISI-indexed articles in 2009 are gold OA
  • BMC - 18,000 articles in 2009; 21% growth
  • PLoS - 6,000 articles in 2009, 50% growth
  • Hindawi - 4,000 articles in 2009, 75% growth
Many thanks to Hendrik for this presentation, and to A. Ben Wagner for pointing to the citation. This originally came to my attention through Stevan Harnad at the American Scientist Open Access Forum, who posted the chart linked to above in order to critique it. Harnad has posted to the effect that he thinks my brief interpretation of the chart he posted (i.e. much higher OA article growth than total article growth predicted) is full of errors. My perspective on this is that Harnad is missing the forest (the fact that it is now traditional commercial subscription publishers seeing and predicting strong open access, an excellent omen for future OA growth - if these folks are seeing the potential of OA, they have the ability to push it further forward and the incentive to do so) for the trees (the details of the numbers - from my point of view, this is forecasting and I have no concern with whether the forecast is correct or not. My perspective is that there is sufficient open access out there - archives, journals publishers - to prove the concept. The Springers of the world may need to forecast due to their commercial nature, but for most of us this is not necessary - what we need to do is not to forecast, but rather to adopt and implement strong open access policy, infrastructure for OA publishing and archives, and shift the economics to OA, to make it happen).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Libraries: is this YOUR free cash? informa (Taylor & Francis) glowing picture for investors

While libraries are reeling from severe budget cuts due to the financial crisis, how are the commercial publishers that rely on us doing? Hurting too? Not really, it seems. Here is what informa (Taylor & Francis) is telling investors today:

The strong portfolio of products within the Informa stable allows the group highly favourable valuation characteristics including:

* Excellent free cash generation
* High return on capital employed
* Excellent quality of earnings - significant subscription revenues with high renewal rates
* High margins especially on data and subscription products
* High operational gearing and cost flexibility
* Products which do and will continue to benefit from technological advances and changing consumer trends

From: informa / Investor Relations

What does this mean?

Excellent free cash generation = when we send in our subscription payments, they have tons of cash on hand. In ordinary household terms: when you get your paycheque, the money is not all going to pay the bills right away, you pay these off and have lots of spending money.

High return on capital employed = for what they spend on getting the journals, they get way more money back.

High margins especially on data and subscription revenues with high renewal rates = high profits. Does it mean that they could afford to give your library a MUCH bigger discount - say 30 to 40 % more - and still more than cover their costs? Yes, it does. I don't have enough detail to specify the amount, but this does seem reasonable to ask.

High operational gearing and cost flexibility = even though they are making way more than it costs to produce the journals, they are finding ways to cut corners and make even more profits. If they are passing on some of the savings to your library, please let me know!

Products which do and will continue to benefit from technological advances and changing consumer trends = they think no matter what happens, they will just keep on making more and more money.

This post is part of the economics 101 series.

Dramatic Growth honoured by Intech's Katarina Lovrecic

The Dec. 11, 2010 Dramatic Growth of Open Access has been highlighted in Katarina Lovrecic's End of the year open access highlights. Well worth a read - thanks, Katarina!

Dramatic Growth of Open Access Dec. 11, 2010 comment and reply

Revised Dec. 17, 2010 - comment on renaissance of the scholar / publisher from Willinsky & Edgar added.

Phil Davis on the Scholarly Kitchen has posted the comment, For Open Access Journals, the Size does Matter, as a comment on my Dec. 11, 2010 early year-end edition of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access.


In brief

The growth of open access is particularly amazing given how little economic support has been made available so far. The economic target that I would suggest is high-quality, fully open access publishing that is economically sustainable or cost-effective. The number of open access journal titles is an indirect indication of the growth of open access publishing per se, which would ideally be measured by the number of articles published open access. As the DOAJ search by article service grows, this measure may become more feasible over time. Nevertheless, the number of titles per se is important as an indication of OA infrastructure, that is, the ability of open access to grow rapidly, given a little support. Behind the many fairly new, relatively small journals listed in DOAJ is a substantial new publishing system which can support many more titles; and small journals with relatively few articles could easily grow with even a little redirection of funding. These are just a few of the reasons why it makes a lot of sense for libraries to join the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity. Online-only, open access journals are not the same as print or subscription-based journals, and so it does not make sense to apply the same measures to assess the success of these journals - for example, the need to bundle a certain amount of articles for a print artefact, or to justify subscriptions has implications for the number of articles needed for a successful print and/or subscription-based journal that does not necessarily apply to an online open access journal. Willinsky & Edgar, reporting on a major survey of journals using OJS, describe the current situation as a renaissance of the scholar publisher.


This is a welcome discussion of this important topic. Phil's main point seems to be that OA publishing is not yet a clear-cut success, particularly from an economic viewpoint. I would agree with this point. What is amazing to me is how much OA has grown with so little funding made available. To create further growth and to transition scholarly communication as a whole to open access, what libraries need to do is to transition funding to OA support. A good first step, one that does not require tough budgetary decisions, is simply joining the Compact on Open Access Publishing Equity - highly recommended as an OA New Year's Resolution.

Phil's first question, with respect to the dramatic growth of DOAJ is: "But does this type of growth really indicate economic success in open access publishing?". My comment: there is an assumption in this question, that the purpose of open access is economic success. From my perspective, this is worth querying. Why success rather than sustainability or cost-effectiveness? What kind of success is Phil looking for? High profits? Why not fully open access, high quality publishing at sustainable or cost-effective rates? - this is what I recommend.

Phil goes on to cover an article in First Monday by Frantsvåg which takes issue with the size of publishers in DOAJ, noting that most (90%) are publishers of single journals. One of Frantsvåg's key points is that small publishers lack economies of scale. From an economic perspective, I would first like to note that due to an inelastic market, mega-publishers with large portfolios of journals and fat profit margins are part of the problem, not part of the solution (a topic I deal with at length in my book, Scholarly Communication for Librarians, unfortunately not OA).

Next, I would like to point out that small publishing is typical of scholarly publishers, as Raym Crow points out in his paper on Publishing Cooperatives, downloadable from the SPARC Papers and Guides website. The dramatic growth of open access journals may reflect a renewal of scholarly leadership in this area. Publishing cooperatives is one of the solutions to creating economies of scale for smaller publishers.

Also, with modern publishing software, such as the free, open source Open Journal Systems, it is quite feasible for a single scholarly journal to manage on its own with modest support services provided by a university library or service such as Scholarly Exchange.

Another important point is that the early proliferation of many small publishing outfits likely reflects the growth in publishing support services, particularly new scholarly publishing services at university libraries. That is, behind a great many of these small publishers stands a very new publishing service representing a significant infrastructure ready to take off - just one of the reasons that I very much look forward to future editions of The Dramatic Growth of Open Access.

Edgar and Willinsky describe the flourishing growth of journals using OJS (over 7,500 journals worldwide) as a renaissance of the scholar publisher, in their report of a major survey of OJS journals.

"In marked contrast to the findings of other studies, only 6 percent of these journals are
published by commercial houses, compared to the 64 percent reported by Ware and Mabe (2009) and Crow (2005). Scholarly societies published 32 percent of the titles in this sample, exceeding the 23 percent that Crow found scholarly societies “self-publishing” in his study of journals as a whole (with societies having turned over 17 percent of the journals being published to commercial publishers to publish on the society’s behalf). This leaves the vast majority of the journals in this sample as published or sponsored by an academic department (51 percent), a non-profit publisher (16 percent), research unit (10 percent) and independent group (10 percent), although these percentages cannot be added up, as respondents could choose more than one sponsor (Table 2). As well, it needs to be allowed that commercially published journals would be less likely to complete such a survey, given a noted reluctance among this constituency to share information about publishing practices (Houghton et al., 2009). Still, these results suggest that the majority of these journals fall into what can be identified as the independent or scholar-publisher titles." AND "Yet this sample also stands apart from the majority of journals. Where a small number of large commercial publishers now dominate journal publishing (Crow, 2005), this study found that commercial entities formed the smallest category of publisher. The scholar-publisher – or more accurately the group-of-scholars-as-publisher – is responsible for the majority of journals in this study, constituting a type that dates back to the earliest days of the journal, when Henry Oldenburg launched the Philosophical Transactions as an independent, albeit commercial, venture. The scholarpublisher is now experiencing, this study suggests, a certain renaissance, facilitated by online, open access."

Phil goes on to comment on an article by Walters forthcoming in College and Research Libraries, Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas. Walters notes the wide variety in open access journals in publishers, with one journal publishing more than 2,700 articles in a year, while many others publish less than 25 articles per year.

Phil seems to think that journals must be of a certain size to be successful. With electronic-only, online open access publishing, I would challenge this view. A print-based journal needs to have a certain quantity of articles for regular mailings to make sense; generally somewhat the same quantity for consistency. This is not the case with online journals at all; there is no a priori reason why an online journal needs to have a particular number of articles to be a success.

One of Phil's points, that the growth of gold OA is better measured by articles than by journal titles, is something that I very much agree with (and the reason I always include the number of articles available through a DOAJ search). On the other hand, the number of journal titles is an important indication of infrastructure for OA. That is to say - if there are many OA journals that are currently publishing relatively few articles, it is highly likely that these journals could easily accomodate tremendous growth in demand for OA publishing - particularly if this transition were accompanied by a redirection of funding from subscriptions to open access. This is an indication of readiness for further growth, which is important to know!

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dramatic Growth of Open Access: December 11, 2010 early year-end edition

In brief: the Directory of Open Access Journals now lists 5,864 titles, having added more than 1,300 over the past year, or close to 4 titles per day (a growing growth rate!). OA is growing fast in the medical area; more than half the research funded by NIH indexed in PubMed is now freely available, regardless of publication. The number of journals actively participating in PubMedCentral is growing - now over 1,000 titles; over half provide OA to all articles, and nearly 60% provide immediate free access. Percentage-wise, OA mandates continue to lead in growth, with a total of 24 mandates added to ROARMAP this quarter, with the eprints OA Week Mandate Challenge a likely contributing factor. This fall's OA Week was the biggest ever. A unique OA milestone this quarter was Jan Szczepanski's personal OA title collection exceeding 10,000 titles. Looking forward to 2011 and beyond, clearly this is just the beginning! Suggested OA New Years' Resolutions: adopt and implement an open access mandate policy, join the Compact on Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) or both - or just keep up the good work and know that the small efforts the many thousands of us are making are adding up to all the difference in the world.

Downloadable data is available at the DGOA Dataverse, or go to Google Docs to view the full data edition, or the show growth edition which highlights quarterly and annual growth. Previous editions of Dramatic Growth can be found here.


Selected numbers

DOAJ: 5,864 titles
412 added this quarter (nearly 6 per day!)
1,374 added this year (about 4 per day)
2,435 journals searchable at article level
485,034 articles searchable at article level

Open J-Gate (portal to english-language OA journals): 7,921 titles (1,796 added this year
of these, 4,721 are peer reviewed (1,211 added this year)

1,009 journals actively participating (49 added this quarter)
596 journals with immediate free access (40 added this quarter)
515 journals will all articles open access (35 added this quarter)

# of repositories:
OpenDOAR: 1,815 (78 added this quarter)
Registry of Open Access Repositories: 2,049 (180 added this quarter)

# of documents in repositories: ?? Normally, I rely on totals at the meta-search engines for repositories. This quarter, Scientific Commons shows no difference from the previous quarter, while the Bielefed Academic Search Engine is down one service provide, and up less than a thousand documents. This makes no sense at all - RePEC alone added 35,000 documents. OAIster has noted an increase of 2 million documents since the last report (some time ago), up to 25 million. Does anyone know what is happening with the meta search tools? Maintenance perhaps? If so, a quick note on the website for the benefit of those of us looking at the numbers would be helpful.

Open Journal Systems: 7,500 journals are using OJS.

Why am I optimistic that this is just the beginning? Thanks to many conversations with librarians (and publishers) at library and academic conferences this year, I know that there are a great many activists in scholarly, library, and publishing circle, working hard to make open access happen and how to transition the system as a whole, to make it easier to make OA happen. Because of my work co-coordinating the ARL ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication webinar series this year, I know that there are many people in libraries across North America that have already developed significant expertise in this area, others are working to get up to speed, and many libraries are in the process of moving from a step-by-step to a comprehensive programming approach to open access.

Update December 15, 2010: in case it is not obvious, the charts in this post are all mine, created from data that I have collected over the years. Please feel free to re-use the charts according to the IJPE CC-BY-NC-SA license - but be sure to attribute me and IJPE! ~ Heather Morrison