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).