Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dramatic Growth of Open Access June 30, 2016

Highlights this quarter include a new indicator illustrating that 42% of the cancer literature indexed by PubMed is available as free full-text within 3 years of publication; ongoing strong growth in open access archives and their content; milestone of over 10 million free texts for Internet Archive; a mix of negative growth reflecting clean-up at DOAJ and growth in articles searchable at the article level; over 50% annual growth at the Directory of Open Access Books; and concern noted about the apparent ongoing growth of Elsevier and what this might mean for open access.


New indicator : a search of the PubMed index for "cancer" for all articles and with limits by date of publication demonstrates that 42% of the cancer literature indexed in PubMed published in the last 3 years is available as free fulltext.  17% is available as free fulltext within 30 days of publication, 31% within one year of publication. With no date limits the overall percentage is 26% of the 3.3 million articles on cancer indexed by Pubmed.

Results of PubMed search for "cancer"
with limits by date of publication and free fulltext
  # of articles free fulltext % free fulltext
30 days 19,050 3,206 17%
60 days 32,562 6,540 20%
90 days 46,057 10,382 23%
180 days 85,913 23,421 27%
last 1 year 162,335 50,499 31%
last 2 years 323,252 126,867 39%
last 3 years 475,973 198,505 42%
no date limit 3,318,957 861,168 26%

Kudos to Internet Archive for exceeding 10 million free texts!

Ongoing strong open access archives growth is illustrated by OpenDOAR adding close to 200 repositories over the past year, a 7% growth rate and a total of over 3,000 repositories. The Registry of Open Access Repositories added 269 repositories over the past year, also a 7% annual growth rate for a total of over 4,000 repositories. The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine is now searching over 93 million documents from over 4,000 repositories. With growth of over 18 million documents over the past year (24% annual growth rate), it won't be long before BASE passes the 100 million milestone. arXiv grew by over 10% over the past year, adding over 100,000 documents for a total of 1.6 million.

The Directory of Open Access Books grew by over 50% in the past year for a total of close to 5,000 books from more than 150 publishers. 

In spite of overall negative growth reflecting a major "get-tough" clean-up project, the Directory of Open Access Journals' number of articles searchable at the article level which grew by 16% over the past year, over 300,000 more articles for a total of over 2.1 million articles. On May 9, DOAJ removed over 3,000 journals that had not filled out the new application form. Since that date, DOAJ has added 234 titles for a DOAJ growth rate of 4.5 journals per day. Watch for continuing strong growth in the next few quarters as DOAJ has hired a team of international ambassadors. 

The ongoing dramatic growth of Elsevier 

The Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) is still included in the downloadable data.  I would like to note concern about its current and future open access status and commitment, particularly since it was recently bought by Elsevier, features the ad for "free subscriptions to more than 500 partner-sponsored abstracting e-journals [emphasis added]", (copied below for purposes of academic critique - please contact SSRN for other uses), the SSRN website indicates partnerships with providers of pay-per-view, and the message from chairman Michael Jensen on the Elsevier sale indicates that part of what is behind this is Elsevier's desire to expand into social sciences.

In addition to the SSRN buyout, as noted on my research blog Sustaining the Knowledge Commons, Elsevier is now the world's largest open access publisher as measured by number of fully open access journals.

Open access may resolve the access problem, however OA per se does not address the increasing commercialization of scholarly journal publishing and increasing market concentration that has been happening since the end of the second world war. The growing presence of large traditional commercial scholarly publishers in open access is something to watch, in particular because ongoing open access is likely not compatible with maximal profit-making.

As usual the full data is available for download from the DGOA Dataverse:

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