Friday, March 31, 2006

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: March 31, 2006 Update

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access continues!

In the last quarter, over 780,000 records have been added to OAIster, suggesting that those open access archives are beginning to fill! There are 170 more titles in DOAJ, likely an understated increase due to a weeding project. 78 titles have been added to DOAJ in the past 30 days, a growth rate of more than 2 new titles per day. Disciplinary archives are showing remarkable growth. E-LIS has been increasing at the equivalent of 56% annually. Differences in growth rates suggest the possibility of a life-cycle factor in open access archives growth, perhaps initial slow growth, followed by very rapid growth, then a more steady growth as the archive matures.

Following is an overview and analysis of data examined. The data itself - a few indicators chosen primarily because they are relatively easy to determine - follows at the end.

Overview and Analysis

The most notable increase is the addition of over 780,000 records to OAIster, the equivalent of a 50% annual increase. This rate of increase doubles that of 2005 (25%). This evidence suggests that those open access institutional archives are beginning to fill! Among the disciplinary archives examined, the highest growth rate was shown at E-LIS, with an equivalent of a 56% annual increase.

The longer-established disciplinary archives showed impressive but slower growth rates: RePEC, 25%, and arXiv, 12%. One possible explanation could be a life-cycle factor for successful disciplinary archives, with a relatively high percentage growth rate at an early stage, followed by slower percentage growth at a more mature phase. This will reflect, in part, the larger size of the repository. It takes more records to create a 12% increase in a large repository than a 50% increase in a small one.

Data from the Canadian Metadata Harvester may indicate another potential life-cycle effect. That is, the Canadian repositories showed a growth rate equivalent to less than 12% per year. The difference between the Canadian open access archives data increase and the OAIster increase (50%) may reflect the relative newness of many of the Canadian repositories.

While delayed free access is not true open access, the 200,000 articles added to the Highwire Free program - an equivalent of a 72% annual increase - does represent a dramatic increase in free access.

DOAJ includes 170 more titles now than on Dec. 31, 2006, an equivalent annual growth rate of 34%. This percentage is likely an understatement, as DOAJ has been undertaking a weeding project to remove titles no longer meeting DOAJ criteria.


Early figures are from my preprint, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Implications and Opportunities for Resource Sharing, Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 16, 3 (2006), and my Dec. 31, 2005 Update and 2006 Predictions.

Directory of Open Access Journals:
March 31, 2006: 2,158 journals (78 titles added in the last 30 days)
Dec. 31, 2005: 1,988 titles
February 2005 - over 1,400 titles
March 31, 2006: 594 journals searchable at article level -- 92,751 articles in DOAJ total
Dec. 31, 2004: 492 journals searchable at article level - 83,235
This is an 8.5% increase, or the equivalent of a 34% annual increase. Please note that this figure may underestimate the growth of OA journals, due to recent weeding by DOAJ of titles no longer meeting the criteria.

Note that the DOAJ list does not represent all open access journals, only the ones that have met DOAJ standards, and have gone through the DOAJ vetting process. Jan Szczepanski's list is much longer: over 4,705 titles total as of early December 2005.

March 22, 2006: 7,040,586 records from 610 institutions
Dec. 22, 2005: 6,255,599 records from 578 institutions
February 2005: over 5 million records, 405 institutions
This is a 12.5% increase in records in a quarter, or the equivalent of a 50% annual increase. This doubles the rate of increase noted Dec. 31 (25% increase in records in less than a year). The number of institutions has increased by 5.5%, or the equivalent of 22% annually, half of the increase reported in 2005. The latter may be an anomaly; that is, it is possible that this number could be artificially low, assuming that academic libraries would tend to wait until after the semester to implement a new repository.

Highwire Press Free Online Fulltext Articles
March 31, 2006: 1,335,546 free articles
Dec. 31, 2005: 1,131,135 free articles
early January 2005: over 800,000 free articles
This is an 18% increase in this quarter, or the equivalent of 72% annually.

March 31, 2006: 362,334 e-prints
Dec. 31, 2005: Open access to 350,745 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Quantitative Biology.
This is a 3% increase in this quarter, or the equivalent of 12% annually.

RePEC: Research Papers in Economics
March 31, 2006: over 367,000 items of interest, over 266,000 of which are available online
Dec. 31, 2005: over 350,000 items of interest, over 250,000 of which are available online.
February 2005: over 200,000 freely available items.
The rate of increase of items available online is 6.4%, or the equivalent of 25% annually, the same growth rate as last year. Recently, the American Economics Association began adding records directly from RePEC into EconLIT, as reported by Thomas Krichel - see Thomas Krichel: a man with vision - and drive!. This provides added incentive for authors to add their works to RePEC.

March 31, 2006: 3,539 documents
Dec. 31, 2005: 3,095 documents
This is a 14% increase, or the equivalent of 56% annually.

Open Access Publishers
The number of open access publishers and their journals is not being reported this time. There are too many, and I don't want to leave anyone out!

Canadian Association of Research Libraries : Metadata Harvester
March 31, 2006: 22,566 records from 12 archives
Dec. 31, 2005: 21,922 records from 11 archives.
This is a 2.9% increase, or the equivalent of 11.6% annually.

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.

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