Sunday, December 09, 2007

Directory of Open Access Journals: Already the Biggest Big Deal?

Could the Directory of Open Access Journals already be the world's biggest big deal, or aggregation of scholarly journals?

A recent comparison suggests that the answer, in at least one sense - the number of scholarly, peer-reviewed journal titles available with no embargo - is yes! The Directory of Open Access Journals lists close to 3,000 journals as of today; Science Direct, the largest publisher aggregated package, about 2,000, while the number of non-embargoed, full text, scholarly journals in the world's largest aggregated packages for libraries number less than 1,700, or a little more than half the titles already in DOAJ.

To see how your library's aggregated package compares, go to:

Open Access Journals, Big Deal, and Aggregated Packages Comparison.

This compares only one aspects of the aggregations; the aggregated packages also include valuable indexing for thousands of journals, and a great many non-peer-reviewed titles, many of which are important for academic libraries. Comparisons of number and quality of articles in toll and open access journals are left for another time, or another researcher.

Nevertheless, this does say a great deal about the state of OA. At the very least, the number of fully open access journals says much about the capacity of the open access publishing system as it exists now. Every OA title, regardless of age or size, has behind it enough support for scholarly publishing - infrastructure, editors and/or an editorial board, willing authors and peer reviewers. If Science Direct, with about 2,000 journals, can manage about 1/4 of STM publishing - what are the 3,000 journals in the DOAJ capable of? With this many journals emerging with limited support from library budgets - what is the potential if library subscriptions budgets were redirected to support open access publishing?

Figures for the vendor packages reflect considerable manual manipulation of title lists, so please consider the totals suggestive rather than definitive. Informal peer-review in the form of checking of numbers would be most welcome.

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