Update January 2011: in 2010, PLoS ONE published 6,749 articles, and the data strongly suggest that PLoS ONE is indeed now the world's largest journal. For details, see my January 2011 update.
Sometime in 2009, the open access PLoS One will likely become the world's third-largest scholarly journal, and by 2010, quite possibly the largest, by far. PLoS One appears to already be the largest scholarly journal outside the areas of physics and chemistry.
On PLoS One:
"In 2007, the journal published 1,231 articles; in 2008 it published 2,722 articles. At current rates of growth, the journal is on track to publish over 4,300 articles in 2009 and assuming this growth continues at the same rate, in 2010 PLoS ONE could be publishing around 1% of all the articles listed in PubMed for that year (PubMed lists 803,00 published articles for 2008)". [i.e. 8,000 journals]. Peter Binfield, PLoS One: background, future development, and article-level metrics, ELPUB 2009.
On the world's largest journals
Dana Roth, American Scientist Open Access Forum:
PLOS One at 4800 [Heather's note - my copying error, should be 4,300] articles in 2009 will clearly be one of the largest journals, only PHYS REV B (5782) and APPL PHYS LETT (5449) published more articles in 2008.
Other journals in the 'largest' category, with their 2008 article counts, are:
J APPL PHYS (4168)
PHYS REV LETT (3905)
J BIOL CHEM (3761)
ACTA CRYSTALLOGR E (3533)
P NATL ACAD SCI USA (3508)
J AM CHEM SOC (3242)
J PHYS CHEM C (2888)
PHYS REV D (2863)
One of the world's other really large journals, the American Physical Society's Physical Review D, is on the list of journals considered 100% convertible to open access through SCOAP3 (see note below). This means that within the coming year, two of the world's largest journals may well be open access journals. The list of the world's largest journals is heavily dominated by physics, a community that has long made almost all their work open access through arXiv, and is now actively working to move a subset of their journals wholescale to open access through SCOAP3. Is it possible that in the near future the majority of the world's very large journals will be open access?
Physical Review D and SCOAP3
Five journals are considered 100% convertible to SCOAP3: Springer’s European Physical Journal C, SISSA/IOP’s Journal of High Energy Physics, Elsevier’s Nuclear Physics B and Physics Letters B and APS’ Physical Review D. From: SCOAP3 FAQ - SPARC.
This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access Series.