24 October 2017

Open Access Week: Trends

On day two of Open Access Week, I wanted to take a look at what's happening with Open Access in the forced migration sphere, as well as highlight some overall OA developments. (If you need an introduction to OA before proceeding, please visit my other blog.)

As of 2017, I started aggregating the OA publications that I reference on my blog on a bimonthly basis, both as a service to users and as a way for me to track trends. While I don't yet have data for all of 2017, the YTD figures for the different categories of OA literature represented on my blog are as follows:

- Gold OA articles = 207 (107 were health-related, 100 focused on other topics)
- Green OA articles = 55 (34 preprints, 21 postprints)
- Hybrid OA articles = 48

For comparative purposes, here are 2015 totals with 2017 figures in ():
- Gold OA articles = 163 (207)
- Green OA articles = 60 (55)
- Hybrid OA articles = 21 (48)

Keeping in mind that 2017 is not yet over and the final totals will thus change, the general trend shows a strong increase in Gold and Hybrid OA in the past couple of years, while Green OA may end up being about even or a little higher than 2015 totals.

A backdrop for these trends:
- Publishing in gold Open Access journals continues to be the more common OA delivery mechanism reflected on this blog. As can be seen in the bimonthly Open Access Round-up posts, forced migration authors publish in a wide variety of gold OA journals, a number of which are forced migration-related.
- Green OA involves depositing eprints in institutional or subject repositories. While publishers allow eprint self-archiving, they have complicated the process by placing more restrictions on which eprint versions can be deposited where, when and how (Sterman, 2017).
- Many authors (including those in forced migration!) have resorted to posting the publisher's PDF to academic social networks (ASNs), like Academia.edu and ResearchGate, in part because it's quicker and easier than trying to decipher publisher policies (Lovett et al., 2017).
- This practice may change, however. A group of publishers recently began issuing take-down notices to ResearchGate and as a result, many articles that were once freely accessible no longer are.
- One potential unintended consequence of tightening Green OA policies and limiting activity on ASNs is that more authors and researchers may turn to Sci-Hub, a pirate web site that (illegally) hosts a significant portion of the scholarly journal article corpus (Bjork, 2017; Himmelstein et al., 2017).
- With regard to hybrid OA, the forced migration trend noted above is generally consistent with the global trend (Bjork, 2017).

Tagged Publications and Web Sites/Tools.

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